Thursday, March 6, 2014

5 Financial Benefits to Homeownership

In our article from a few weeks ago, “Ownership Generation,” we explored social and emotional reasons why young renters grow up to be homeowners.  But the reasons to buy a home are not just warm and fuzzy.  There are also cold-hard money related advantages too.  In this article we will discuss some financial benefits to owning the roof over your head.  This list of benefits is adopted from a December 2013 report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

1.       Housing is the one leveraged investment available

According to the report, “Homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor.”  For example, if a home is purchased with a 10% down payment, and the home appreciates by 10%, the homeowner has doubled their investment even though the value of the home increased by only 10%.

2.       You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent

When making a mortgage payment part of that payment goes to pay down the principal which increases your equity.  With rent, you’re only improving the landlord’s equity position.  I would also add that rent is similar to an adjustable rate mortgage, as each year there is the risk that the payment will increase.

3.       Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”

The report states that “Having to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings.”

4.       There are substantial tax benefits to owning

Our tax code is very favorable to homeowners.  Mortgage interest and property taxes can be deducted each year from a household’s taxable income.

5.       Owning is a hedge against inflation

Although our economy hasn’t experienced significant inflation in many years, there is always a risk of inflation in the future.  According to the report, home values tend to rise at or above the rate of inflation which is a valuable hedge against inflation risk.

The homeownership rate in America fell as a result of the recession, but the benefits of owning a home still apply.  Those advantages are social and emotional, but as we have demonstrated they are also financial.

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