In celebration of National Homeownership Month, today’s column is about the advantages of homeownership for families and individuals as well as the economic impact that housing has on local communities. Housing is a bedrock element of our nation’s economy and our personal well-being.
There are a number of reasons why homeownership remains important to the American sense of security and a stronger future; some of the reasons are practical and economic, some are historical and deep-rooted.
Right now there are a number of key reasons to purchase a home.
Low interest rates: Rates remain low. This is a good time to become a homeowner. With a fixed-rate mortgage, you can lock in a payment that fits your budget.
Available loans: Borrowers with good credit can get loans with attractive rates. If you need to improve your credit, Neighborhood Home Solutions (NHS) counselors can work with you to increase your credit score by helping you develop an individualized action plan and budget. In addition, NHS offers a credit rebuilding program (the Credit Zone Club), Financial Fitness classes and Homebuyer Education workshops.
Competitive prices: You can afford more home than you could a few years ago.
Energy efficiency: Newer homes have environmentally-friendly features that can help you save money.
Beyond the current reasons for home purchase, home ownership remains the American Dream for millions of people. For most Americans, homeownership is their major long-term investment. When a family owns their home, it is an asset that has a direct impact on their financial security and future. And having a home of one’s own is the realization of a dream.
Homeownership strengthens communities as well as families. The stability provided by homeownership leads to the creation of assets that can be passed from generation to generation, to better health and education outcomes for children, to higher levels of civic engagement and to stronger and more resilient housing markets, which enhance local revenue streams.
Out of the depths of the Great Depression of the 1930s came the call to action that led to the passage of the National Housing Act of 1934. This act created the Federal Housing Administration and made housing and home mortgages more affordable. Affordable housing was a critical piece of the flourishing of the middle-class after World War II and throughout the latter half of the twentieth century.
The financial crisis of 2008 cast a long shadow over a slow recovery. Affordable housing is vital to the efforts of families to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the recession. In the view of leading experts, empowering families to achieve homeownership remains one of the best strategies for household asset building and for rebuilding neighborhoods and communities devastated by the foreclosure crisis and Great Recession.
Join Neighborhood Home Solutions in celebrating National Home Ownership Month by stopping by to see us at 1600 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. S. S., St. Petersburg or giving us a call at 727-821-6897. Don’t forget you can visit our website at www.nhsfl.org to learn more about the difference you can make in your own life and in the life of your community.
NHS is a 501 (c) (3) HUD-approved nonprofit housing counseling organization. Services are provided free of charge. Partners include the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HomeFree USA, Florida Housing Finance Corporation, Florida Hardest-Hit Fund, Pinellas County Community Development, and the City of St. Petersburg. Sources for this article include the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission, Catholic Charities Housing Reform (Catholic Charities USA) and Brown County Home Builders Association.