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A Place Called HomeA Place Called Home: The Social Dimensions of Homeownership

By Kim Manturk

Since the onset of the mortgage lending crisis and the subsequent Great Recession, there has been ongoing debate about the economic benefits of homeownership. Some say homeownership remains an important contributor to wealth creation, while others believe that renting is a less expensive and less risky option. This debate has raised an interesting question about homeownership: if the home is not guaranteed to provide a solid return on investment, is there a rationale for promoting homeownership beyond whatever financial benefits it may deliver?

The authors' research has provided tremendous insights into the extra-financial effects of affordable homeownership. It shows that homeowners, when compared with renters, have better health outcomes, experience less stress in times of financial hardship, experience a greater sense of trust in their neighbors, have access to more social capital resources, and are more likely to vote. Further, the data allows us to explore not only what benefits result from affordable homeownership, but how and why these benefits are transferred. The book ultimately argues that homeownership is not only important for financial reasons, but also functions as a social tool that can improve the lives of low- and moderate-income people.

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