WSJ: Changing Perspectives About Homeownership

by Mark Wellborn


On its Developments housing blog yesterday, The Wall Street Journal wrote about a National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey, which shows that many in the country no longer think that homeownership is a way to build wealth.

The survey, which included just over 1,000 adults, found that one-third do not think that they will ever be able to afford a new home, and a number believe that they will keep renting for the foreseeable future.

From the blog:

Consider it a by-product of the housing crisis, as millions of Americans face plunging home values leaving many stuck with a house worth less than the mortgage. This is only adding to the number of foreclosures and short-sales, eroding prices further and slowing recovery. Would-be buyers are sticking with landlords, while many who lose their residence return to writing rent checks.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/wsj_changing_perspectives_about_homeownership/1064


  1. Tim said at 11:10 am on Wednesday June 24, 2009:

    If the hosuing market is not appreciating in price, ownership makes little sense. The savings from renting versus a mortgage willl typically exceed the mortgage tax savings - even at the highest tax brackets. Add in transaction costs, maintainence costs, property taxes, disparity between renters and homeowner’s insurance, there is little favoring home ownership. Plus, the investment is illiquid.

    Homeownership’s investment value is all about the leverage provided by the mortgage. But if market prices are decliing or steady, you are leveraging nothing.

    Of course, this analysis assumes that the money savings from renting are put to effective use elsewhere. A mortgage is a form of forced savings, if nothing else.

  1. ellen said at 4:03 pm on Wednesday June 24, 2009:

    Assuming you purchase wisely and buy an “undervalued” property that you intend to live in buying is still the way to go. Your mortgage interest and real estate taxes are deductible too.Real estate values especially in DC & NY always come back.Buy,live in it and enjoy! Invest,rent it out enjoy!

  1. Joe said at 6:33 pm on Wednesday June 24, 2009:

    Assuming you purchase wisely and buy an “undervalued” property that you intend to live in buying is still the way to go. Your mortgage interest and real estate taxes are deductible too.Real estate values especially in DC & NY always come back.Buy,live in it and enjoy! Invest,rent it out enjoy!

    Can we safely assume you work in the home sales industry?  ‘Cause you’re hitting their talking points..

  1. aj said at 10:40 am on Thursday June 25, 2009:

    I just bought a place and I think there is tremendous value in being able to do whatever I want to it and NEVER AGAIN having to deal with effing landlords (pardon my language).

  1. CondoAuthority.com said at 2:45 pm on Thursday June 25, 2009:

    If everyone rents the only way new housing will be built is if it makes sense for builders/investors to build.  If the population continues to gradually increase then there will be continued increased demand for roofs over our heads, but if no one is buying then the only way new housing will be built is if the owner can make money renting.  Eventually the market should then come back to equilibrium and it may in fact cost more to rent than it would to own.  And, there’s definitely a value to not having a landlord and not worrying about rent increasing.  In the late 90s rents in apartment buildings in Northern VA was going up 10%+ per year (and they never really came down) so the price changes aren’t limited to for sale housing.

Comments are closed.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾