SCAOR initiative encourages more homeownership

There has been no better investment in American history than owning and maintaining a home, according to the Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) – a fact they said is highlighted and emphasized through their new program.

Dubbed “Homeownership Matters,” the initiative is a local version of a National Association of Realtors program. It is designed to ease fears around the country as the United States continues to emerge from its greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

“Despite the economy and regardless of what you may hear on television, owning your own home is still the soundest financial decision you will ever make in your lifetime,” said Judy Dean, 2010 president of SCAOR. “The economy is cyclical – a fact that is sometimes hard to remember when going through tough times. But the facts are indisputable; buying and maintaining your own property is still a fantastic financial decision.”

Historically, a homeowner’s net worth ranges between 30 and 45 times that of a renter, according to statistics compiled by the National Association of Realtors. There are also tax benefits and fixed housing costs, which means no fear of being held captive by a landlord’s yearly rental increases, they noted.

There are many other advantages to homeownership that are highlighted through this new initiative, including:

• Sixty-seven percent of American households are owner-occupied.

• Homeowners pay 80 to 90 percent of all federal individual income taxes, contributing to programs that benefit all Americans.

• Every home purchased in America pumps an average of $60,000 into the economy for furniture and other related items.

• Housing accounts for more than 15 percent of the gross domestic product.

The Homeownership Matters initiative was launched in reaction to recent recommendations from the federal Deficit Reduction Commission to modify the current mortgage interest deduction program nationwide.

“As the leading advocate for housing and home ownership issues, NAR firmly believes that the mortgage interest deduction is vital to the stability of the American housing market and economy,” NAR President Ron Phipps said recently. “The tax deductibility of interest paid on mortgages is a powerful incentive for home ownership and has been one of the simplest provisions in the federal tax code for more than 80 years. The MID must not be targeted for change.”

Realtors in Delaware’s southernmost county hold the same position – changing the mortgage interest deduction in any way could have a negative impact on housing markets and the nation’s economic recovery.

“It really makes no sense, from our perspective, to alter what is one of the greatest financial benefits to owning a home. Why would you want to discourage homeownership in this economic environment?,” said Dean. “Leave it alone and let things progress at their natural rate.”

Studies have shown that home ownership has a significant positive impact on net worth, educational achievement, civic participation, health and overall quality of life. That’s not likely to change anytime soon, they noted.

“Owning your own home is still the American dream and it always will be,” said Dean. “We are a nation of home owners; that’s one of the things that makes this country so great.”

To learn more about SCAOR, call the association’s Georgetown office at (302) 855-2300, or visit them on the Internet at