Fortune Magazine has done a few articles on renting vs. buying a home. According to their research, renting in 2010 was more lucrative than buying a home in many major cities. However, in 2011, they expect this to change due to falling home prices and rising rent costs. Their data shows that the cities and states where homeownership trumps renting are those plagued by high unemployment, falling home prices and high foreclosure rates. In many ways, it sounds like Rhode Island fits into this category.
In another related article, it was also argued that Americans need to reevaluate homeownership and realize that renting a home doesn&;t mean that you are any less American. I agree with this to a certain extent because if you can&;t afford to buy and maintain your home, then you should rent. After all, home is wherever your family is and it is not necessarily tied to a mortgage payment.
I understand that in this economy, many feel like they need to downplay homeownership as a means of convincing others to not overextend themselves to achieve it. However, I don’t feel as though those who have chosen to buy a home responsibly should be put down. Over the last 15 years, homeownership was portrayed as a guaranteed money maker. It is for this reason, people bought more than they could afford, bought several and tried to flip them or simply made bad financial decisions. That was not part of the American Dream.
I have rented for over 6 years and while it was a necessary financial decision at the time, it certainly does not compare to homeownership. I recently became a first time homeowner and like many young Americans, the recession helped me finally afford my own home. To me, my home is my own corner of the world where I can paint, remodel and landscape everything to my own personal taste. While we haven&;t been in the home long, we have made a few improvements and there is nothing like the contentment of looking around and knowing it is yours. Believe me, I know my DIY limitations. There are some things that require you to hire a professional so it is done correctly. But, the satisfaction you feel when the job is done is second to none.
I look at my house as a place that I want to invest my time, money and resources into so it can become a welcoming home where family and friends gather and children are raised. That is the American Dream. It is a dream that we should take pride in achieving and maintaining because once you become a homeowner you make a difference, even if it is only in your little corner of the world.
Do you think the American Dream is dead?