Homeownership has critical community, economic and social benefits 

Jan Stapleton - 2023 NETAR President

June is Homeownership Month, and this year’s observance is very different from last year. Last year we were in the disorientation of coming off the hottest housing market in recent history. This year the focus is “what’s the new normal? When will be get there?” There are also alarms about increasing local property taxes and fees. 

Association Spokesperson

An increasing the number of potential owners are also opting to rent rather buy. And there’s concerns about workforce housing and affordability. So far, those well-intentioned concerns have sparked seminars and information-gathering panels. But the actual building of affordable housing in the face of rising demand level is akin to using bucket brigades to fight fires.  

There is no question home sales are declining. They are beginning to look more and more like the 2018 market. And prices are stagnant because there’s not enough inventory to put downward pressure on prices.  

Still, real estate is a leading wealth producer. For example, if you bought an existing local home at the May 2015 median price and sold it for last month’s median price would have doubled your initial $125,000 investment. There are also many tax advantages for real estate investing and homeownership. And all local owners amassed record-levels of equity in their homes during the past three years.  

Homebuyers spent about $2 billion on homes in the area monitored by NETAR in 2022. When the economic multipliers are added, it was inching toward $2.5 billion contributed to the area’s economy.  

There’s no question that the economic aspects of homeownership get most of the public attention. So, what better time than National Homeownership Month to pause and look at the other side of the homeownership story. 

A couple years ago, a research economist at the NAR wrote a white paper that sheds some light on the often-overlooked facets of homeownership. It pointed out that besides economic benefits, research has shown that homeownership brings substantial social benefits for families, communities, and the country. These societal benefits are just as much of the motivation for policymakers to promote homeownership as the economic advantages. Simply put, homeownership provides much of the societal glue for healthier communities on both the financial and social sides of the ledger.  

Here are the often overlooked but documented social benefits of


– Increased charitable activity. 

– Civic participation in local community and national issues (including voting). 

– Greater awareness of the political process. 

– Higher incidence of membership in voluntary organizations and church attendance. 

– Greater attachment to the neighborhood and neighbors. 

– Lower teen pregnancy by children’s living in owned homes. 

– Higher student test scores by children’s living in owned homes. 

– Higher rate of high school graduation, thereby higher earnings. 

– Homeowners take on a greater responsibility, such as home maintenance and acquiring the financial skills to manage mortgage payments, and those skills transfer to their children. 

– Lower teenage delinquencies. 

– Homeowners reported higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, happiness, and higher perceived control over their lives. 

– Solid wealth gains for homeowners under normal housing market conditions. 

– Homeowners not only experience a significant increase in housing satisfaction but also get a higher satisfaction even in the same home in which they lived as renters. 

– Homeowners better maintain their homes, and high-quality structures also raise mental health -renter-occupied housing appreciates less than owner-occupied housing. 

– Housing prices are higher in high-ownership neighborhoods. 

– Maintenance behavior of individual homeowners is influenced by those of their neighbors. 

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region, representing over 1,800+ members and 100+ business partners involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Weekly market reports and information for both consumers and members are available on the NETAR website at https://netar.us