Fifty years ago, buying a home wasn't just an option; it was the norm. Renting homes for anything other than a very short-term arrangement was seldom thought of as a housing goal. Today, almost the exact opposite is true.
Millennials are renting instead of buying in great numbers, favoring the ability to travel, move, and be more flexible in their living arrangements over the stability of a single, owned residence for three or four decades. The question is, though, whether renting actually is the better choice. Studies show that owning can improve homeowners' lives in ways that renting doesn't, and surprisingly, those benefits aren't just financial.
Of course, the money-related advantages of purchasing a home can't be denied. Lowered mortgage payments, as compared to average rental rates, housing stability, and the use of an owned property for later rental income are all benefits that most, if not all, homeowners experience. Just look at this calculator by Smart Asset, which shows the differences between rental rates and mortgage rates, calculating for you the financially wiser decision between renting and owning.
The upside of owning a home don't end there. According to this Quartz article, owning a home offered three key benefits that aren't related to finances at all, but are focused on well-being and mental health. The authors of the article, who wrote the book "A Place Called Home: The Social Dimensions of Homeownership", stated that owners experience an overall reduced risk of health problems. Furthermore, theyreport feeling more satisfied with their financial lives than renters, even amidst nationwide financial crises. This is telling, as these people could just as easily be affected by a housing crises, and yet are less likely to feel the stress of that possibility than renters are. Lastly, being a homeowner increases one's feelings of control, increasing the feeling of safety in the process. This contributes to overall more positive instances of reported mental health.
Even in conditions that are unpredictable for both renters and homeowners, science tells us that the simple act of owning a home is enough to make them feel more safe, more happy, and more satisfied with their lives overall, while contributing to their increased physical safety as well. For a long-term solution, home owning is a clear winner over renting a home in nearly every circumstance.
Additional research, suggests that not only do these positive experiences improve owners' lives, though – the feeling of safety and satisfaction is present in their neighborhoods and communities as well. This is largely due to the increased participation of long term residents in their local and community elections, participation in community programs, and connection with other neighbors who may have remained in the community for many years. This goodwill coming from the homeowners actually improves the neighborhood around them, and even contributes to lower rates of crime in most neighborhoods.
The evidence overall suggests that owning a home is a smart choice, both financially and ethically. Most homeowners feel more secure and more happy than their renting counterparts, and that feeling of satisfaction is brought into the community as well.
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