With property appreciation surging in recent years, homeowner wealth is now 40 times higher than renters, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.

Duane Duggan

Duane Duggan, Realtor and Author RE/MAX of Boulder

In 2023, homeownership is more important than ever before in the U.S. We live in a world that pressures us to rent everything – and love it. Think about it: we can rent a scooter to get around, we can use an app for car rides, we can rent clothing, we can rent workspace, we can rent a first-time apartment – and we can even rent a “forever” home.

Build-to-rent is a concept spreading across the country. As you drive down Highway 36 to Denver you see so many complexes that look like they would be condos – but they’re apartment buildings. Builders and investment groups have discovered it is better for them to build and rent rather than build and sell. This movement is now making its way into single family homes. In many cases right now, by the time the builder is finished with construction on single-family homes, the cost of the homes is more than the contracted price. Supply chain issues and cost of labor have increased so much while they are building houses, it makes it difficult to sell at a profit. So why not keep it and rent it? In some communities, investment groups own a high percentage of what would be first-time homes, and have decided to rent them, rather than list them in the for-sale housing market.

Yet studies by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) have shown for years that the net worth of homeowners has always surpassed that of renters. With property appreciation surging in recent years, homeowner wealth is now 40 times higher than renters, according to new data from NAR. All that being said, it is more important to own your own home than ever before.

National Homeownership Week started in 1995 under President Bill Clinton with the purpose of increasing homeownership across America. In 2002, President George W. Bush expanded the program to an entire month. 

Historically, June is one of the busiest months for real estate activity, so much so that NAR has celebrated June as National Homeownership Month for many years. This year, with housing inventory at low levels and home prices remaining high, becoming a homeowner has become more challenging — and the outlook is that the record-low supply will continue. In the first quarter of 2023, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the homeownership rate in the U.S. was 66%. Since 2000, the homeownership rate has been within a few percent points of this rate every year. NAR works hard to keep homeownership at a high level.

“Homeownership Matters” has been an overarching theme of NAR, but especially during National Homeownership Month. NAR reports that “A number of research studies have shown that homeownership provides social and societal benefits. Not only is homeownership one of the best ways to build long-term wealth, providing resources for a more comfortable retirement, but it also fosters an immeasurable sense of community and stability vital to growing families.”

NAR’s “Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing” report reveals that homeowners are happier and healthier. They tend to vote more, volunteer more, and contribute more to their neighborhoods. Homeowners do not move as frequently as renters, which encourages more neighborhood stability, and children of homeowners are more likely to participate in organized activities and spend less time in front of the television.

Why Homeownership Matters

• Equity Build Up – Over time, through both strong and weak economic conditions, the value of a home in most markets across the country has increased. In the U.S., we are blessed with financing, which enables people to buy a home with relatively small down payments and a 30-year amortizing loan. When increasing home values are combined with a principal loan balance which drops each month, you build equity. This accrual of equity directly contributes to the wealth and financial stability of homeowners.

• Tax Incentives – The interest paid on a mortgage creates a tax deduction, with limits, on a taxpayer’s return. Property taxes paid, with limitations, are also deductible. These two tax deductions help lower the expense of purchasing a home.

• Neighborhood Pride – Homeowners take pride in their neighborhood. They tend to be more involved in the community when they have an ownership stake. Homeowners are the bedrock of any thriving community.

National Association of Realtors Homeownership Matters Campaign

NAR and its members are dedicated to helping more Americans become homeowners.  Millions of people have used the resources available from NAR to learn about buying a home and staying informed about the issues of homeownership. You can learn about the resources at: homeownershipmatters.realtor/about/ 

As a homeowner, you have the power to influence policies that are created to protect homeownership. You can stay informed about these policies and how to strengthen your community by clicking on the “Stay Informed” link on the website above. 

Contact your Realtor® for expert help in purchasing a home.

For more information about homeowner wealth as compared with renters, visit: nar.realtor/magazine/real-estate-news/study-homeowner-wealth-is-40-times-higher-than-renters.

By Duane Duggan. Duane graduated with a business degree and a major in real estate from the University of Colorado in 1978. He has been a Realtor® in Boulder since that time. He joined RE/MAX of Boulder in 1982 and has facilitated over 2,500 transactions over his career, the vast majority from repeat and referred clients. He has been awarded two of the highest honors bestowed by RE/MAX International: The Lifetime Achievement Award and the Circle of Legends Award. Living the life of a Realtor and being immersed in real estate led to the inception of his book, Realtor for Life. For questions, e-mail Duane at [email protected], call 303.441.5611 or visit boulderco.com.