Homeownership, like baseball and hotdogs, is an integral part of the American culture. Over the past 70 years, the U.S. government has devoted significant public resources to encouraging and promoting homeownership. The recent financial crisis has prompted the government to spend even more on preserving homeownership, despite the fact that the financial crisis itself was led by the meltdown of the U.S. housing market.
Now, an increasing number of academicians and media reporters are questioning the previously unquestionable: Has the American dream turned into an American obsession? In “American Dream or American Obsession? The Economic Benefits and Costs of Homeownership,” Wenli Li and Fang Yang analyze the economic benefits and costs associated with owning one’s residence. They re-examine a variety of rationales that have been put forward in support of homeownership and examine the evidence for an economic cost associated with homeownership.
They conclude that the economic benefits and costs of homeownership suggests that the economic case for subsidizing homeownership has, at the minimum, been oversold.