Tarnished 'Dream' Revitalized | Print |  E-mail
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Thursday, 10 March 2011 15:48
By Carl Medford, CRS
Special to The Forum
GUEST COMMENTARY

 

“To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition,” stated Samuel Johnson, noted 18th-century English literary critic. Over the centuries, this sentiment traversed the waves to America’s shores and found roots in what’s been referred to as “The America Dream.”

The Dream used to include a job you held for 30 years and a cute little home in the ’burbs. With outsourcing to foreign labor markets and the meltdown in housing values, the “Dream” has taken a few hits.

Although including overarching concepts such as religious freedom and, as stated by the Declaration of Independence, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” what is the heart of the dream? It can’t be, as suggested by Mel Brooks, “Winning ‘American Idol.'"

I don’t often quote Martha Stewart; but, on this topic, she has something to say. She expands Johnson’s ideas, stating: “Our families and our homes are the center of American life. And everything we do is to make those homes — and the lives in them — more beautiful, more comfortable, more functional, and more full of life and light and joy for those we love. At the end of the day, that is the American Dream. All the rest is window dressing.”

And, it appears that, although tarnished by recent events, the idea of owning a home is still imbedded in the Dream. And ownership seems to be a positive experience that manifests itself outwardly into the way we live in our community as well.

The recent NAR-Harris* poll revealed some interesting facts: When asked, “Is owning a home a better financial decision than renting?” 96 percent of home-owners said it was and 71 percent of renters agreed. National surveys agree, showing that the average median net worth of home-owners is substantially higher than those who rent.

The positive affects of homeownership don’t stop there. The poll reveals other startling facts: Students from homeowner families scored higher on Peabody Individual Achievement Tests for math and reading than those from renting families. Owners feel more connected to their communities. Owners score higher on feeling safe in their neighborhoods.

Higher community connection, satisfaction and quality of life, increased levels of civic engagement and volunteerism – it all adds up. Owning a home is still a part of the American Dream – and, apparently, a part of being a more productive member of the community as well.

*NAR-Harris poll conducted by the Nation Association of Realtors.

Carl Medford is a licensed Realtor with Prudential California Realty in Castro Valley and a licensed general contractor. This article is sponsored by the Central County Marketing Association at www.ccmgtoday.com.

 

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