From the Affordable HomeOwnership
June 4, 2001
Followup or questions to Adria Pulizzano 415-861-0777
Advocacy Group Charges SF HomeOwnership Policy Failure
"There has been an absence of leadership in San Franciscoís
homeownership policy", charged Sarosh Kumana, President of the Affordable
HomeOwnership Alliance (AHA), a non-partisan homeownership advocacy group. AHA
is committed to increase SFís homeownership rate, currently 34%, up to the
national average of 68% by the year 2010.
"Misguided homeownership policy has resulted in San
Francisco having the lowest homeownership rate of any US city of comparable
size", he said. "Some would even say that homeownership policy has been
non-existent in San Francisco."
HUDís statistics show that median national net wealth for
homeowners exceeds $78,400, compared to $2,300 for renters. More than 60
percent of homeowners' wealth is in the form of home equity. According to HUDís
Urban Policy Brief, equity in a home is the largest single source of wealth for
most families and marks an increasingly important economic divide in American
"Plain and simple, homeownership increases personal wealth,"
Kumana said. "We need to help San Franciscans become homeowners, instead of
impoverishing them by preventing homeownership. Government policies should help
citizens to bridge the gap to homeownership. Keeping tenants in rent-slavery is
a crime. Homeownership is an important step in promoting equality of income and
opportunity for all American families."
"The McGoldrick TIC legislation, coming up for a vote by the
Board of Supervisors, only permits 200-400 tenants to become homeowners every
year. He is on the right track, but we need to open the floodgates. We need
tens of thousands of new homeowners every year, not just a few hundred," Kumana
said. "Expand the number of new homeowners to 40,000 per year, and then maybe
we have something worthwhile."
Kumana challenged city policymakers to enact legislation
removing archaic and counterproductive barriers against widespread property
ownership, and thereby permit tens of thousands of San Franciscans to achieve
their aspiration of affordable homeownership by allowing all tenants to buy the
apartments they live in.
Said Carol Ruth Silver, former San Francisco Supervisor,
who, during her term† on the Board of
Supervisors was one of the co-authors of rent control with Harvey Milk, "AHAís
HomeOwnership for Tenants proposal (HOT), would increase homeownership while
reducing evictions, and includes a self-funding mechanism to help low-income,
elderly and disabled families to achieve the homeownership they could never
Policy Brief Examines Advantages of Homeownership
Homeownership is such a hallowed
part of the American Dream that even housing researchers seldom question its
presumed benefits. HUD USER's second Urban Policy
Brief reviews the empirical evidence concerning the social, economic, and
emotional impacts of home-ownership, particularly for lower income Americans.
"Homeownership and Its Benefits" finds that
"although research on some key points remains inconclusive, the preponderance
of existing scholarship confirms the validity of many of the benefits
popularly attributed to homeownership." These include claims that
- Increases personal wealth.
Statistics show that equity in a home
is the largest single source of wealth for most families and marks an
increasingly important economic divide in American society. Median net wealth for homeowners exceeds
$78,400, compared to $2,300 for renters. More than 60 percent of homeowners'
wealth is in the form of home equity.
personal well-being. It is often asserted that homeownership promotes
personal fulfillment in a number of ways. Its importance as a symbol of social
status is thought to increase the homeowner's self-esteem and overall
satisfaction; the greater privacy it provides may allow the owner to feel a
greater sense of control over his or her life. To date, however, the research
literature has yielded very little empirical evidence that either confirms or
refutes psychological benefits from homeowning.
stronger neighborhoods. Like research on presumed psychological benefits,
the problems inherent in developing quantifiable measures and in distinguishing
housing tenure from other possible explanatory factors have consistently
weakened studies of homeownership's social benefits. However, there is a
growing body of evidence that homeowners move less often than renters and are
more likely to maintain their property and to participate in neighborhood-based
social and political activities.
economic growth. Housing is a large and vital sector of the national
economy. Building 1,000 single-family homes creates almost 2,100 full-time
jobs--home construction and related industries employ approximately 6 million
Americans. Investment in residential property accounts for more than 4 percent
of the Nation's gross domestic product (GDP).
- HUD USER Urban Policy Briefs offer the casual reader an
informative overview of important topics in housing and urban development,
while providing citations to seminal research for readers who wish to explore a
subject in greater depth. Single copies of Urban
Policy Brief No. 2: Homeownership and Its Benefits are free from HUD USER.
Please contact HUD USER to obtain print copies.