Felix Salmon wrote an excellent post on Reuters today, regarding the rationale for a sustained bear market in housing and common public misgivings about home ownership:
http://bit.ly/buWCHt -- That's what I'm talking about, except to say that an increased rate of home ownership is detrimental to the economy, per se. It all depends on how you prioritize different economic factors. If you value productivity above all else, then a more mobile workforce is certainly better in our economy -- but this doesn't seem to matter nearly as much to most communities as it does to the ones where business is centered.
I'd also like to add that for many people, the anchoring effect of ownership is comforting when, in fact, we are taking ownership of our property rather than merely paying endless debt. One question that I would add to the research is how many people realistically plan/want to stay where they are. Not only can ownership help provide financial security for the individual home owner, but it can create stability in the regional market. The latter effect is negated when people choose to move every 5-7 years, but perhaps that trend will also abate in the near future. Thoughts?