National Homeownership Month celebrates the value that owning a home brings to families, communities, and neighborhoods across America. By becoming a homeowner, people get a step closer to the “American Dream.” During the month of June, we share the joys of being a homeowner, which can encourage others to achieve the same thing.
The History of National Homeownership Month
In the 1800’s, most Americans had no way of owning a home. Mortgages become common only after the U.S. banking system came about, during the National Bank Acts in the 1860’s, when Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act that gives the head of each American household the right to claim a 160-acre homestead if they want to build a home on the land and farm on it.
In the 1930’s, during the time of the Great Depression, the banks did not have any money to lend and the average borrower didn’t have any cash to purchase, therefore people couldn’t afford to buy homes. Additionally, existing homeowners often failed to pay their debt, which led them to any property they had.
The U.S Government created the Homeowners’ Loan Corporation in 1933, the Federal Housing Administration in 1934, and the Federal National Mortgage Association (now known as Fannie Mae) in 1938 to stabilize the housing market. All these institutions took homeownership to new heights and helped prevent a crash in the housing market.
In 1944, the G.I. Bill changed the face of the housing industry as well. This bill provided subsidized mortgages for the veterans of World War II.
In 1968, Congress passed the Fair Housing Act. Signed by President Lydon B. Johnson, the Fair Housing Act banned discrimination in housing based on religion, race, gender, and national origin. It was signed a few days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In its 87 years of existence, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has saved Americans almost $4 trillion loss of household wealth, and has helped more than 44 million citizens to become homeowners.
In 1995, National Homeownership Week began under the administration of President Bill Clinton as an effort to increase homeownership across America. In 2002, President George W. Bush expanded the period of observance from a week to the entire month of June. National Homeownership Month reinforces the belief that owning a home is one of the steps towards achieving the American dream.
Five Facts About Homeownership that You Might Not Know
- The Burden of Cost Persists
- Almost half of America’s households are cost-burdened, which puts more than 30% of their incomes towards housing expenses.
- The average American family spends $1,784 on housing expenses, excluding the mortgage payment, monthly.
- The average rate of Black homeownership today is 44.7%, which is a significant drop due to racial disparities from 2000, which was 47.4%.
- Homeownership in the United States is more attainable for a White high school dropout than a Black college graduate.
- In 2019, the average distance between the owned home and the newly purchased home of an American was 15 miles. Therefore, every 15 miles, there was a home that was sold.
Why National Homeownership Month is Important
- It’s for a better future
- Homeownership expands your options for the future. You can plan to sell and make a profit or leverage your home equity and pay for other big expenses.
- Homeownership is closely tied to the economy. When home sales rise, jobs go up too. And together, these forces contribute to stabilize the economy on the local, state, and national levels.
- Homeownership gets a person more invested in their community. Getting involved in activities and volunteering for charity and other events adds to a sense of belonging that is much greater than for a person who is just renting.
*Data and statistics obtained from: https://nationaltoday.com/national-homeownership-month/