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The Importance of Outcomes Associated with Homeownership

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The Importance of Outcomes Associated with Homeownership

Published 06/25/2021

Homeownership promotes wealth building by acting as a forced savings mechanism and through home value appreciation. Wealth building hinges on the homeowners’ ability to build home equity, which is statistically challenging for lower- and moderate-income households.

A few vital factors to building home equity for and moderate-income homes are refinancing loans at a lower interest, sustaining homeownership with the means to weather home value fluctuations, and, most importantly, providing affordable financing.

Improving affordable homeownership leads to numerous outcomes that extend beyond the house​​​​​. In the U.S., these include higher economic stability, access to quality education, increased civic and social engagement, better health, and a reduced environmental footprint.

Recent findings provided by Habitat for Humanity identify the impact that affordable housing has on individuals and families at home and beyond. The brief provides an overview of how families can prosper with greater access to decent, affordable housing. The full brief is available for download here: download the full brief.

Research highlights

Wealth and financial stability

  • U.S. homeowners have an average net wealth 400% higher than renters with similar demographics and earnings, and home equity represents the highest proportion of wealth (34.5%) for U.S. households.
  • Research has shown a correlation between homeownership and increased wealth, with each year of homeownership tending to be associated with an additional $9,500 in net wealth, on average.
  • In 2019, net wealth was lower for lower-income ($9,300), Black ($24,100) and Hispanic/Latinx households ($36,050) than for higher-income ($1,589,300) and white households ($189,100). Home equity represented a larger share of net wealth for low-income, Black, and Hispanic/Latinx households.​​

Civic and social engagement

  • Homeowners are more likely to vote in local elections than renters in comparable neighborhoods, and this likelihood increases with the degree of neighborhood disadvantage in low-income urban areas.​​​​​​
  • Regardless of the length of time owning a home, homeowners are 1.3 times more likely to become involved in a neighborhood group — and join a civic association than renters. The increased participation in neighborhood groups reflects in low-income neighborhoods as well.


  • For older single-family homes, weatherization reduces low-income households’ total energy costs by 12.4% within the first year. That is substantial given that low-income homes have higher energy burdens. Totaling three times the share of their annual income (7.2%) on energy costs compared with other households (2.3%).


  • Children of low-income homeowners are 11% more likely to graduate from high school and are 4.5% more likely to complete post-secondary education than children of low-income renters.
  • Homeowners can leverage their housing wealth to finance post-secondary education for their children, notably lower- and moderate-income households. For lower- and moderate-income homes, a $10,000 increase in housing wealth raises the probability of college attendance by 14%.


  • Decreasing housing costs for cost-burdened households (those spending more than half of their household expenditures on housing) releases resources to spend on nutritious food and health care and limits overcrowding to minimize the spread of respiratory infectious diseases.

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