Is home ownership the key to happiness?

Will adorning your walls with Blu Tak, and keeping as many pets as you want make you happy? It could certainly make tenants happier if they’re their denied these pleasures in a rental property.

But there’s much more to the relationship between home ownership and happiness than Blu Tak and Felix or Fido. Getting the deeds to a home is a step on the ladder to personal fulfilment, many would say.

Canada’s Habitat for Humanity found that families that had moved into its owner occupier homes were happier and healthier.

“Seventy per cent of homebuyers reported improved health, including reduced colds and flu, allergies, asthma symptoms and stress. Thirty one per cent reported less frequent visits to the doctor and about 25% said they missed fewer days of work because of illness.” Habitat for Humanity.

Here’s how home ownership can make Kiwis happier:

  • It’s the Kiwi dream. We’re brought up to believe that we can own our own home and a quarter acre of paradise. Some people find achieving that dream very satisfying indeed.
  • It’s a sanctuary. Many home owners find their home to be a sanctuary and a place that they feel safe.
  • They can keep pets. Most landlords don’t allow pets. Living with pets brings many people great joy and happiness and it can be a good supplementary reason to buy a home.
  • Gardening. Sure landlords won’t complain if a tenant does the gardening. But people prefer to do it in their own garden where they can create a landscape and watch plants flourish with tender loving care.
  • DIY and decoration. Landlords don’t always have the best taste when it comes to wallpaper and paint, let alone kitchens and bathrooms. One great advantage of owning a home is the choice of décor.
  • The neighbours. Sure tenants may become friends with the neighbours. But home owners stay longer and are more likely to set down roots. A social life is a very important part of being happy.
  • It brings financial security. Many people find it much easier to build up capital if they own a home. In a typical market Kiwis can expect to see their homes double in value every 10 years. That means that a $400,000 property might be worth $800,000 in a decade or so.
  • Home owners can’t be evicted by the landlord. Tenants aren’t in control of their destiny. Just when they’ve got settled in a house the landlord decides to renovate, sell, or move in himself. There’s much more security of tenure with owning your own home.

Finally, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. There are plenty of tenants who are happy. Conversely, owning can buy misery. Just look at the thousands of Kiwis who bought leaky homes and those who can’t afford to keep the mortgage up.

There are other aspects home ownership that fall short of renting, such as: not being able to afford to live in a certain neighbourhood, spending longer commuting, and organising and paying for repairs. There’s also a lot of effort involved in trading up to that perfect home.

Links:

Compare Home Loans

Property: To rent or buy?

First Home Buyers Information & Guides

 How to save $,000’s on your mortgage!

 How much will your mortgage really cost over time

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