Impact of home ownership and your health

Bill Collins, Appraiser Help Inc.


Health Benefits of Home Ownership

During this holiday season of giving thanks for what we have along with giving to those in need, it’s time for appraisers to step back from our daily battles and try to understand the human impact of these abstract numbers we review related to foreclosures and “underwater” homeowners (see “Recent Real Estate Reports” below).

The Census Bureau recently reported that the homeownership rate declined to 65.3% during the 3rd Quarter. Human Impact Partners, an organization which conducts health-based analyses with a goal to correcting policies which make communities less healthy, summarizes the many health benefits of owning versus renting on their website as follows:

“In the short term, the wealth accumulation associated with homeownership improves access to neighborhoods with more health promoting assets, such as grocery stores, places to exercise, good schools, and so on, as well as to higher quality housing.

Relative to renters, homeowners have better physical health outcomes, lower child unintentional injury rates, higher self-esteem and lower levels of distress, and more positive mental health, which is associated with lower blood pressure.

The benefits of homeownership accrue independent of socioeconomic status, such that poor homeowners have better health outcomes than poor renters.

Investment in homeownership has been the primary long-term strategy to build wealth in the United States, and wealth is one of the strongest determinants of health”.

Numerous studies are cited in support of these findings and the following link provides information as to the sources of this research: Human Impact Partners Evidence Base

On November 25th, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Research Institute for Housing America released a related report entitled “A Profile of Housing and Health among Older Americans”. Professor Michael D. Eriksen of Texas Tech University summarized some of the report’s findings as follows:

“The study found older Americans  who own their homes are more financially secure and generally experience fewer impediments to good health than their peers who rent. Owning a home provides the single largest asset in most Americans’ retirement portfolios, while renters have far more difficulty modifying their living space to adapt to any of the myriad physical ailments that tend to affect older people.  Our report serves as a useful reference for all parties interested in the implications of housing on an aging society, a situation America now faces with large numbers of the Baby Boomer generation rapidly heading into retirement age.”

A link to the MBA press release of November 25th is found here: Report Profiles Housing Future For Older Americans

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