This story in the New York Times raises a few questions as to whether the clear societal benefits of homeownership are outweighed by the opportunity costs of the mortgage interest deduction.
Blatantly cutting and pasting to make my argument –
…77 percent of homeowners said they had at some point voted in local elections, while only 52 percent of renters said they had. About 20 percent of renters knew the name of their representative on the school board; 38 percent of homeowners did. Homeowners went to church more, and invested more in the upkeep of their homes.
These facts, in an of themselves, make homeownership versus renting an easy choice. That said, owning a home is not the right choice for everybody. Everybody has different goals and means. Homeownership can frequently be an excellent vehicle to advance one’s goals. Neither is it the bogeyman that some are making it out to be.
Just had to throw this quote in –
The mortgage interest deduction and other subsidies will cost the government roughly $716 billion in lost taxes over the next five years …
Bah. It’s our money. Leave it to us.
Update: This article in the Washington Post sheds a little bit of light.