5 Ways to Celebrate National Homeownership Month

National Homeownership Month is a time to shine a light on the nation’s 83 million property owners and encourage the dream of homeownership in America.

Especially as interest rates increase and the meteoric market we’ve seen for the past few years starts to slow, it’s more important than ever to secure the dream of being a homeowner.

According to the National Association of REALTORS, homeownership builds financial security, and with 65.5% of Americans owning homes, the net worth of a typical homeowner is nearly 40 times the net worth of a non-owner.

The total value of owner-occupied housing rose by $8.2 trillion in the last decade, and the number of middle-income homeowners increased by nearly one million. The typical homeowner has accumulated more than $200,000 in housing wealth due to price appreciation.

The History of National Homeownership Month

Prior to the 1860s when the U.S. banking system came into being (bringing mortgages with it), most Americans had no real path to home ownership.

Then, just as homeownership was gaining traction, there was another major setback during the Great Depression, when the banks did not have any money to lend, and the average borrower didn’t have any cash or other assets.

As a result, not only could people not afford to buy homes, but existing homeowners often failed to pay their debt. In an effort to stabilize the housing market and prevent a crash, the U.S. government created the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation in 1933, the Federal Housing Administration in 1934, and the Federal National Mortgage Association in 1938.

While those efforts did help bolster the housing market, what really changed homeownership in America was the GI Bill of 1944.

Along with other economy-boosting measures, the GI bill provided subsidized mortgages for the veterans of World War II. Alongside it, the American dream of owning a home with a white picket fence was born.

It was established because as World War II was coming to a close, U.S. leaders realized that nearly 16 million American men and women who were serving in the armed forces would be unemployed when the war finally ended, and that this could cause another depression and widespread economic instability similar to the aftereffects of the 1929 stock market crash. Not only that, but they would all come home and flood the job market at the same time – thus the measures to encourage education and going to school.

A home loan provision of the GI Bill helped immensely. By 1955, 4.3 million home loans worth $33 billion had been granted to veterans, who were responsible for buying 20 percent of all new homes built after the war. The boom had a ripple effect across the economy, warding off any concerns of a new depression and sparking unparalleled prosperity for a generation.

President George H.W. Bush summed up the impact of the bill in 1990 by saying, “the GI Bill changed the lives of millions by replacing old roadblocks with paths of opportunity.”

Another milestone in the history of American housing came when Congress passed the Fair Housing Act of 1968, a few days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and banned discrimination in housing based on religion, race, gender, and national origin.

National Homeownership Week began in 1995, which was a strategy of the administration under President Bill Clinton to increase homeownership across America. Later, in 2002, President George W. Bush expanded the period of observance from a week to the entire month of June.

How Can I Participate in National Homeownership Month?

1. Give your own home a little spruce

If you’re a homeowner, the best celebration of National Homeownership Month is to put some extra care into your home. It’s an immense accomplishment and privilege to own a home and putting love into your home is the best way to celebrate that.

A fresh coat of paint, planting some new flowers or a vegetable garden, power washing the exterior, or even splurging to buy some new furniture or décor. Anything to renew your sense of commitment and love for your space.

Also, it’s never a bad time to declutter or schedule general checkups on your HVAC and other major systems.

2. Educate Local Home Buyers

If you’re a local real estate agent, real estate developer or otherwise in the industry, the best thing you can do is to help educate local home buyers. Partner with other industry professionals in your community to provide current information on area lenders and buyer assistance information.

You can also organize a housing forum (in person or virtually) to provide an opportunity for future home buyers to ask questions, get information and become more educated on what home ownership means and costs. You can also invite public and industry leaders to examine and discuss the specifics of the housing situation in your community. A panel of experts such as a mortgage broker, an economist from the local college, and a Realtor is a great opportunity for people to get a full view of the market in your area.

3. Get Involved in your Local Community

Homeownership is a nearly insurmountable hurdle for many people. But there are organizations that help people accomplish that dream, and they are always looking for assistance. Look up local area charities and participate in a community service project in honor of National Home Ownership Month.

You could volunteer with organizations such as:

There are so many ways you can help people who are struggling with housing insecurity or working towards the dream of homeownership in your community. By supporting these charities, you’re bolstering your community and helping make it a better place to live.

4. Throw a Block Party with Your Neighbors

What is homeownership without neighbors? Good or bad, neighbors are an all too often fact of life. Take this as an opportunity to get to know your neighbors a little better and build some neighborhood camaraderie. This is a month to (good, bad, and ugly) celebrate your neighbors.

Throw a block party complete with food, games, and contests, or team up with neighbors for a community service project or fun run. You can even bring charitable giving into it and set up a food drive or donations that benefit local area shelters or charities.

5. Give to Organizations Helping Address Housing Issues

If you’re low on time, setting up a donation during National Homeownership Month can help too. You can donate to housing organizations like Habitat for Humanity, your local area homeless shelter, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Mercy Housing or 995 Hope. Even just a small donation in honor of homeownership can make a difference.

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