Live Longer, Don't Rent, Own.

Owning a Home has advantages including better health and longevity.

Kevin Luxon

5/1/20242 min read

a man sitting on a step with his head in his hands
a man sitting on a step with his head in his hands

Owning a home extends your life, contributes to better health, and increases social quality outcomes compared to those that are housing insecure. Although the United States is the wealthiest industrialized country in this world, it is also at the bottom of the list when it comes to child mortality, life expectancy, and cardiovascular disease. The remedy to these problems can be found in owing your own home.

For decades scientists looked to eradicate illnesses such as heart disease, depression, and cancer by focusing on genetics, predisposed conditions, lifestyle choices, ethnicity, and the environment. To their dismay they discovered that the causal relationships did not exist, until they began looking at income and housing inequality.

Income disparity obviously impacts how one can access healthcare, medicine, healthy foods, and have extra leisure time for exercising and participating in social support networks. According to the National Institute of Health (2021), housing and home ownership has a greater and more significant impact on the quality of life and health than income levels. One study found that children raised in homes that parents owned were much less likely to get sick than children that grew-up in rental situations.

In the State of Kentucky families living in poor neighborhoods such as Jackson County, specifically renters, had a reduced life expectancy by up to ten years compared to those living in high social economic locations like Wayne County where life expectancy is 82.1 years (CDC.GOV, 2021). Housing insecurity is a real stress producing phenomenon that increases the levels of cortisol that contribute to declining health and a lower quality of life. Societal determinants of health can mean life or death to many Americans. Housing should be a fundamental human right and ownership may be the magic we need to make a difference.

In the early 1940’s institutional racism existed as neighborhoods with minorities were appraised up to thirty five percent less than in all white neighborhoods. Homeowners benefit from appreciation and use the capital appreciation for educational and medical advantages that renters could not. Today big corporations and foreign investors are turning homes into rental properties where the appreciation will never benefit those that call these places home. In Australia and parts of Canada foreign investors pay an additional tax, yet that does not deter the inventory from being swallowed-up. Even the once real estate information site Zillow is now a company that buys homes.

Institutional racism is now between the rich and the poor and those on the losing end are suffering both physically and emotionally. Depression and suicidal ideation are higher among non-homeowners than those that are with a mortgage or the deed. We must explore new programs and opportunities to increase the access to affordable housing. One such solution is real and tangible and that is by preserving 90 to100 percent of existing residential properties for citizens and migrant workers only. Then, if corporate giants and foreign investors want to monopolize real estate, they need to build new inventory, not steel our soul.

Kevin Luxon

Next on HRA: According to Redfin, One out of six homes were purchased by investment groups in 2021. This is a sick, sick commentary on greed versus humanity. More to come.