The Home Investment Dichotomy

American families may not think homes are good investments…..

We have been hammered with news stories over the past couple of years about the part of the American Dream that has to do with home ownership.  Is home ownership still an aspiration, or is it just looked upon as another bad investment?  Constant hype by the real estate industry, over decades, that homes are good INVESTMENTS, brought exhilaration in the real estate market as the investment factor drove it right up to the precipice, and malaise as the market tumbled down.


The dream may be a rental now

This Crye-Leike listing was once the dream

Maybe there is more to “investments” than long term capital gains.  Could it be security, sense of place, family memories, or ownership of a tangible useful asset, or a place to call “home”?  Ah, that’s just a dream.

Fannie Mae’s latest National Housing Survey illustrates the housing malaise:  Now  64% of Americans think owning their home is a safe investment, down from 83% in 2003 as we were ramping up for the big bubble burst.   78% of respondents believe housing prices will hold steady or increase over the next year; but about 2/3 still believe the economy is on the wrong track, and 75% believe mortgages will be harder to obtain in the future.

….but overseas investors certainly do.

To point out the difference between home owners, individuals and families who invest their fortunes, time and love into making a HOME and being part of a community , and people who buy houses for investments. Here is a headline I ran across in Inman News:

Overseas Investors Flock to Memphis Real Estate

It’s about a company in Memphis that offers turnkey investor services.  They acquire a distressed property, get a renter in it, then sell the house, the lease, and continued property management services to investors thousands of miles away – in this article from New Zealand and Italy.  A different kind of investment.

There will always be owners and renters.  The question is whether the dwelling is a house or a home.  There’s a big difference.


One of my Harbor Town listings

One of my own, a very nice Harbor Town listing

Joe Spake is a Consultant and Real Estate Broker in Memphis, Tennessee.  His blogs are Joe Spake’s Weblog and Memphis Real Estate Buzz.


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