Community ties: Homeownership benefits aren’t just financial

You’ve heard that owning a home has benefits financially—but did you know there are major social benefits, too? Improved educational performance in children, improved health, higher civic participation, and reduced crime rates are the realized social benefits of homeownership. These findings come from a literature review by NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun and research economist Nadia Evangelou recently published in The Journal of the Center for Real Estate Studies.

Years of past research has found that people who own homes tend to amass and save more money than those who don’t. These traits in homeowning adults are linked with lower school drop-out rates in children. Plus, staying in one place for longer, as homeowners tend to, do means that children can stay at the same school and have a stable environment from which to grow. The wealth-building effect of homeownership has also been shown to have positive impacts on health. Research indicates that the children of homeowners and the homeowners themselves tend to be healthier than nonowners and their children. The research suggests that owning a home gives a person a sense of control that may reduce stress and positively impact mental and physical health.

Owning a home is also linked with higher levels of civic and volunteer engagement as well as lower rates of crime involvement. Homeowners are more likely to participate in local elections and civic groups than renters, and are less likely to participate in crime. Additionally, crime rates are lower in neighborhoods with stable housing options. The idea is that homeowners have more financial stake in their community than renters do.

Impending tax reform that eliminates state and local tax deductions may have implications beyond hurting individual homeowners—a policy that weakens tax incentives for prospective homeowners could also negatively impact our communities. The researchers conclude that “public policy makers would be wise to consider the immense social benefits of homeownership for families, local communities and the nation” when considering tax changes.

For more on the financial and tax benefits of homeownership, visit

Read the full review >