By the Missoula Organization of REALTORS®
Home ownership matters in a community and often provides investment to those neighborhoods beyond the mortgage being paid. Homeowners are more likely to volunteer, they take pride in the appearance of their homes, and there is less crime in neighborhoods where there is a majority of home owners.
Recently, some have suggested that home ownership is detrimental to families because it makes homeowners less mobile and hinders their ability to move for a new job. This sounds good in theory, but the argument ignores the reality of how important things like stability, community, and a place to call home are to people.
We don’t live to work; we work to live. Finding a job in today’s economy is top-of-mind for many in the Missoula community, but the truth is, most of us don’t want to uproot our families, move away from our established friendships or leave the community we call home. In fact, the typical recent home buyer moved only 19 miles from his or her previous home.
Further, a high rate of home ownership in a given area is not an indicator of a weak local economy, or vice versa. For example, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the metropolitan areas of Philadelphia; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Washington, D.C. have home ownership rates of 70.5 percent, 68.3 percent and 67.5 percent, respectively. All three areas enjoy lower unemployment rates and better job growth than the national average.
According to the 2010 Missoula Housing Report, in 2008 Missoula County had 58% owner occupied housing. In the urban area, the students attending the University of Montana and College of Technology Students have swayed the numbers to closer to 50% home occupied. During that time, unemployment in Missoula County was under 5%. We understand that economic factors have shifted those numbers, but the connection between home ownership and healthy rates of unemployment remains.
Numerous academic studies have shown the positive social benefits of home ownership, many of them linked to the financial and geographic stability that comes with owning a home. These include lower juvenile delinquency rates, lower teen pregnancy rates and higher student achievement among children of homeowners versus that of non-owners of similar socioeconomic background.
Owning a home has been likened to “putting down roots,” and with good reason – it means becoming part of a larger community, establishing a sense of stability, and finding a place to call home for years to come.
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Diane Beck has been selling real estate in Missoula for over 20 years. Her knowledge, experience and commitment to the community has placed her in the forefront of the real estate market. Diane is serving the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® as their 2011 President and she continues to strive for the best interests of their members, community and her clients.