Will Your Children Own A Home?

US Homeownership Rate -- OurBroker.comLong ago, when I was a child, no material possession was more important than a home. Whether the house was large or small ownership was a way to say that you had a stake in the American system, that you had full citizenship.

The symbolism of ownership was enormous. Many people came to America precisely because ownership was impossible in the town, village or shtetl from which they came.

My paternal grandfather, as one example, came to America from the Pale of Russia. He worked hard as a tailor and was able to buy a home in Bensonhurst, a part of Brooklyn and then a tough neighborhood. It was a place where first- and second-generation families from Italy, Russia and Poland found a foothold in America.

The Idea of Citizenship

It wasn’t just the house that made him proud, it was the idea of citizenship, of belonging to the larger society. He always mentioned that he had paid to have the street in front of his house paved. Sure it was a tax, but in the old country you paid a tax to the demented local noble and nothing happened — if you were lucky. Paying taxes in America was no big deal because the money went to a government that wasn’t bent on burning down your house or murdering your children.

But now we see that homeownership is in decline. In 2004 the US homeownership rate reached 69.3 percent, a level which dropped to 64.7 percent in April 2014.

The homeownership decline is surely related in part to the day’s worsening economics. According to the Census Bureau incomes in 2013 were 8.7 percent lower than in 1999, hardly a sign of progress.

The Homeownership Rate

Part of the homeownership decline simply reflects less interest. Young people are increasingly living with their parents, a development which can’t possibly be attractive for either generation. The ownership rate for those under 35 is now 35.9 percent versus 41.3 percent at the start of 2008.

You can’t pine for the good old days — they’re not coming back — but surely change is with us, a change which reflects not only a profound revolution in housing patterns but also a new definition of citizenship, one which does not necessarily include a deed, mortgage or expanding job base. In many cases our kids won’t own a home and that should be sobering for all of us.

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1 Comment on "Will Your Children Own A Home?"

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  1. Md Kamrul says:

    Hi peter i shared a very good experience indeed . I appreciate your writing .

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