Concerned that the failing housing market and broken hearts of thousands who have lost their homes to foreclosure have taken the shine off the "American Dream," the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has launched a sentimental campaign to remind people of the value of "home."
The warm and fuzzy TV spots feature a cute little boy cuddling with his grandfather on the front porch.
"Will I own a home like this someday, Grandpa?" the little boy asks.
"I hope so," the grandpa says, with a look of worry in his face as he watches the neighbors load a moving van across the street. http://bcove.me/x4ag4bsi
NAR is known as one of the strongest lobbying groups in Washington and they're taking this fight to the mat. Aside from the TV spots, the Realtor group has released a study touting the importance of home ownership for the economy and overall good of society: "Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing August, 2010."
According to the study, research has consistently shown the importance of the housing sector on the economy and the long-term social and financial benefits to individual homeowners.
"The economic benefits of the housing market and homeownership are immense and well documented," the study concludes.
According to NAR, the housing sector directly accounted for approximately 14 percent of total economic activity in 2009 and household real estate holdings totaled $16.5 trillion in the first quarter of 2010 with the net real estate household equity totaled $6.3 trillion.
In addition to tangible financial benefits, homeownership brings substantial social benefits for families, communities and the country as a whole, Realtors say.
Among the study's other findings were:
- Minorities have made marked progress in home ownership in recent years. But even with these gains, the home ownership rate among minorities still lags significantly behind that of whites. In 2009, fewer than half of African-American and Hispanic households owned their homes. In contrast, more than 74 percent of non-Hispanic whites were homeowners.
- Homeownership and stable housing go hand-in-hand. Homeowners move far less frequently than renters and hence are embedded into the same neighborhood and community for a longer period. While 5.2 percent of owner-occupied residents moved from 2008 to 2009, nearly 30 percent of renters changed residential location.
- Consistent findings show that home ownership does make a significant positive impact on educational achievement. Less clear, however, is whether home ownership in itself, stable housing (i.e., less frequent residential change), or favorable neighborhood characteristics are the main underlying factors contributing to better educational outcomes.
- Homeowners have a much greater financial stake in their neighborhoods than renters. With the median national home price in 2010 at $166,000, even a 5 percent decline in home values will translate into a loss of more than $8,300 for a typical homeowner. Because owners tend to remain in their homes longer, they add a degree of stability to their neighborhood.
- Homeowners also reap the financial gains of any appreciation in the value of their home, so they also tend to spend more time and money maintaining their residence, which also contributes to the overall quality of the surrounding community.
- Renters, with less wealth tied to a specific locality, have less incentive to protect the value of their property via the political process.
- Homeowners may also be happier and healthier than non-owners. Obviously home ownership goes hand in hand with income levels and thus better health care, the study notes. However, "There are a few academic studies that provide evidence of the positive impact of homeownership on health even after controlling for factors like income and education."
NAR even roamed the country in a bus this past summer promoting its ideals in the "Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour."
“Homeownership is under attack, and we want to make sure that people understand what’s at stake,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, in a press release. “Whether you own a home today or want to own a home someday, it’s important to engage on these issues right now."
If home ownership is something you're interested in, here are a couple of interesting new listings in Clayton and Concord.
17 Capistrano Court, Clayton
Creekside setting with Mount Diablo views! Gorgeous kitchen with cherrywood cabinets, granite counters, buillt-in refrigerator, and custom tile work behind gas range, plus a great island. Hardwood floors crown moulding. Check out the beautiful backyard with pool and gazebo. This is a great area of Clayton
5501 Silver Sage Court, Concord
4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2101 square feet
Perfect for summer evening fun. Take a dip in the pool, relax in the spa or entertain on the spacious patio. The pool was recently resurfaced and is solar heated. The kitchen was remodeled just one year ago and has granite counters a Jennair oven and microwave hood, a Miel dishwasher and a fiver-burner gas stove. This home has oak hardwood and marble tile floors, too.