Owning a home does not lead to happiness

Jun 20, 2012

(Phys.org) -- An Australian study led by the University of Adelaide has debunked the belief that owning a home is a recipe for happiness.

In a study involving more than 10,000 people over a six-year period, researchers found that while home owners are happier, wealthier and better educated than renters, home ownership in itself does not lead to improved .

Lead researcher Dr Emma Baker from the Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning (CHURP) at the University of Adelaide says this simple finding is important.

"Many studies have established major differences between home owners and renters but our findings suggest that happier and healthier people are able to afford a mortgage," Dr Baker says.

"Renting in itself does not make people unhappy either, but higher proportions of unhappy people end up renting because of their circumstances.

"In a country like Australia, most people aspire to home ownership and our governments are constantly trying to find ways to help people realise this goal.

"However, owning a home is not the best outcome for everyone. Previous studies show that, in many cases, low income households with mortgages struggle financially and these people would actually be happier and healthier and less stressed if they rented.

"In Europe, renting is far more common and the socio-economic mix of tenants is more diverse than in Australia so there is less attached to renting there. A professor or business person can be living next door to a student or shop worker, whereas that is not as common in Australia.

"Renting your home doesn't seem to affect your , whereas owning a that you can't afford clearly does. Findings such as these reinforce the need to aim for more than 'the Great Australian Dream'," Dr Baker says.

The findings have been published in the international journal Urban Studies.

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1 / 5 (1) Jun 20, 2012
I think the idea of the condo is a very good one. Apartments are very efficient, I think, for reducing urban sprawl and whatnot. I really don't feel its best for most people to live in houses.. but renting, that's kind of screwy too. I hope condos become the norm for most people in the coming years.
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 20, 2012
Did the only include homeowners that have already paid off their home? Because having a home and a large debt is certainly not any more conductive to feeling at ease than having to pay rent you can barely afford.
2 / 5 (4) Jun 20, 2012
What does 'happy' mean?
Owning a house usually means you can do with it what you want with no landlord telling saying 'no'.
Ownership has a higher level of responsibility than leasing.
4 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2012
What does 'happy' mean? -Rygged

I actually agree. Happiness is a temporary state of mind which passes once you become accustomed to the circumstances that made you 'happy'.

Whether you're renting or owning, if you can easily repay your ongoing expenses, then you're not going to be 'unhappy', as that particular stressor is not part of the equation. I can attest to that, as I have both rented and owned homes.

4 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2012
Happiness is a temporary state of mind which passes once you become accustomed to the circumstances that made you 'happy'.

Happiness is a relative term. While I agree that you become accustomed to the 'aded happiness' of owning a home you dop get periodically reminded of the 'unhappiness' of having to pay rent. So there is a very fundamental difference here.

I went from appartment renter to appartment owner last year, and it does nideed feel a lot better to own that to rent.

But I certainly would not feel that added, relative happiness if I still had to pay off a loan for it in monthly installments
2 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2012
I went from appartment renter to appartment owner last year, and it does nideed feel a lot better to own that to rent.

And you may be less happy if you needed to quickly move and sell at a loss.
The study attempts to pin down a moving target. Owning will make a set of individuals happy. Not owning will make anther set happy. And individuals can move from one set to another depending upon their situation in life.
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2012
And you may be less happy if you needed to quickly move and sell at a loss.

How often does that happen? And if it does happen - so what? There are other alternatives (e.g. I could rent out the appartment instead of selling it until I can sell it at a profit)

Certainly the prospect of "maybe moving out again" isn't keeping me awake at night (or even occuring to me on a regular basis). When you buy you usually intend to stay there for a while.

But "maybe needing to move out sometime in the future and thereby incurring future unhappiness" is besides the point, because it isn't part of what the article is about.
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2012
It isn't odd at all that Libertarian/Randite Ryggtard would ask such a question when it defines "freedom" as slavery to the Corporate Controlled state.

"What does 'happy' mean?" - RyggTard

To RyggTard and his Libertarian brothers, Fascism is the ultimate freedom.
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2012
All we know is that in RyggTard's preferred Fascist Libertarian Fantasy, happiness will be at an all time low.

"And you may be less happy if you needed to quickly move and sell at a loss." = RyggTard