Home Ownership Matters!

The most important message of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® for 2011.

February 1, 2011

The most important message of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® for 2011 is as simple as it is powerful: Home ownership matters. We are keeping a laser-like focus on this point in our internal communications to REALTORS® and in our external communications to customers, clients, citizens, and critics.

Some people say we shouldn’t encourage home ownership because some people shouldn’t own homes. That belief misrepresents reality. While we agree that not everyone who wants to buy is financially ready, this hardly means we should discourage ownership for all. The median net worth of home­owning families is more than $200,000 compared with about $5,000 for families who rent, according to the most recent data available from the Federal Reserve. Families that work hard to get on the housing ladder and begin building equity can, in the long run, be more self-reliant that those who don’t take that step. Isn’t that a worthy justification for government incentives, such as the mortgage interest deduction and capital gains exemption?

Our commitment to home ownership is not about simple self-interest. Rather it is about a larger purpose. Home ownership has been part of the American experience since the very first breath of the Republic. When Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, he wrote that “all men are created equal . . . with certain inalienable rights, among these life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Those rights were broadened from the writings of John Locke, whose work Jefferson admired. Locke’s belief that government had a duty to protect citizens’ “life, liberty, and property” helped inspire the American Revolution. Today, what we need to do as a nation is connect with our truth and our tradition: Home ownership matters.

Our industry is also critical to the national economic recovery. Every home sale and commercial real estate transaction generates direct economic activity and jobs. And most of the work triggered by real estate transactions stays in the United States.

That’s why NAR has committed extensive resources toward keeping home ownership a national priority. Our national Public Awareness Campaign is the cornerstone. Our newest ad underscores the Home Ownership Matters theme. This spring, we will launch a Home Ownership Matters bus tour, with stops in 16 cities across the country reaching out to consumers, REALTORS®, and members of Congress. Our outreach will be complemented by the most intense lobbying and advocacy campaign we have ever launched.

We began this year knowing the challenge we face is great—but our cause is also great. Together, we will reconnect Americans with the truth about of the value of the American dream of home ownership. And we will succeed.

Editor's Note: The Home Ownership Matters bus tour schedule was changed after the February issue went to press. As of Jan. 20, 2011, there were three stops planned with more potentially coming in the spring and summer. The tour will be in Chicago, March 4-6, in connection with the Chicago Flower & Garden Show; Denver, March 17-20, in connection with the Denver Home Show; and Portland, Ore., March 24-27, in connection with the Better Living Home and Garden Show. For more details, visit REALTOR.org/homeownership.





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Ronald L. Phipps

Ronald L. Phipps was 2011 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.