This is interesting:
Just how much should Uncle Sam do to help Americans buy their own homes?
For 70 years — and for the last 15 in particular — the answer has been: Whatever it takes.
Now, policymakers are pausing to reconsider. In the next few months, they’ll weigh whether there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to helping families finance the American Dream.
The rethink could mean a shake-up for a mortgage market addicted to government subsidies.
“This process of figuring out the government’s role is going to involve some hard choices,” says Alyssa Katz, author of Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us. “The moment you start changing the nature of what is guaranteed by the government, what is subsidized, you start to change the alignment of winners and losers. … We took for granted that anyone could get a mortgage.”
Using guarantees and tax breaks, the government pushed homeownership past 69% in 2004. Then it all came crashing down.
As someone who rented forever, I’ve never understood the fetish regarding home ownership. I can understand people with a couple kids they want to raise and knowing they will not be moving forever being really into buying a house, and I can understand why some might want to own a house, but the societal pressure on home ownership is one of those things that never made sense to me. “Why don’t you own a house?” is up there with “why aren’t you married” or “why don’t you have kids?” It’s just one of those things that you are expected to do, even if you don’t want to and are quite happy not owning a house. Not owning is nice. You can move whenever you want. If something breaks at 10 pm at night, you don’t have to frantically work to fix it- you call someone and it is their problem. If you change your job, relocating is easy. If you just get tired of your current location and want a change of pace, it is easy to move. You aren’t locked into a job, a mortgage, and a location. It’s nice knowing that if you want to move, you just need to get two u-hauls (one for your possessions, one to haul your cat) and you can beat a hasty retreat.
But then again, I am an odd duck, it seems. I went several years without a car and was pretty damned happy. I had to deal with the usual barrage of questions- “How can you do it? It isn’t normal! Everyone has a car!” When, in fact, the exact opposite is the case. Throughout human history, fewer than .000001% or less of the world’s population have ever owned a car (90% of statistics are made up on the spot).
So stop the mortgage deductions. Stop the tax breaks. Stop adding government incentives to something that really isn’t necessary and punishes those who don’t want to own. Works for me.