Homeownership Creates Wealth Even If That’s Not the Goal

Published by Florida Realtors on November 6, 2020 | Copyright © 2020 National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

Homeowners who spent a lifetime working, raising families and paying mortgages have a greater net worth later in life.

Homeownership presents a great pathway to build wealth. Among all families, the ownership of a primary residence typically accounts for 90% of total wealth, based on the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finance data. Among those in the bottom 20% of the income percentile, it’s even more: The median value of holdings for a primary residence accounts for 99% of total family assets. For top earners, however – the top 10% income bracket – it’s 42%.

Housing wealth accumulation takes time. It’s built up slowly by paying off mortgage debt and through price appreciation. And while home prices can fall, prices tend to recover and go up over the long term. As of September 2020, the median sales price of existing home sales was $311,800 – a 35% gain since July 2006 when prices peaked at $230,000.

Nationally, a person who purchased a typical home 30 years ago gained about $283,000 as of the second quarter of 2020. Of the total wealth gain, 67% ($192,600) is from the price appreciation of 3.7% annually. Over a 10-year period, the wealth accumulation is $144,490, of which $114,233 (80%) is from price appreciation.

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