“'Owning a home lies at the heart of the American dream.'[. . .] Oops."
Paul Krugman's Monday column is a smart look at one piece of the American dream I also questioned in my column last week: homeownership.
"Why should ever-increasing homeownership be a policy goal? How many people should own homes, anyway?"
Are you less of a citizen, less involved in your community, if you don't hold property?
Is it less savvy financially if you choose to spread your investment risks rather than sink most of your net worth into a single purchase made on margin?
Is the mortgage deduction really fair to those of us who choose to do other things with our money?
And what about the benefit to the planet of living in denser, smaller, more efficient apartments, with less space for stuff, rather than moving out to the suburbs just so you can afford a house?
Taking all this into account, my husband and I do still dream of owning a piece of property at some point--Paul Krugman admits he's a homeowner too.
I think the major advantage to me is the sense of long-term rootedness in a community, especially for raising children. But the fact is that that stability is hard to come by in today's economy, or it least can take a while. My industry, while centered in New York, is completely volatile; my work takes me all over the East Coast and to the West Coast several times a year; my husband's company is less than 10 years old and is headquartered on the West Coast; and my family and friends are pretty well scattered too.