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One of the cherished aspects of what we call the “American Dream” is home ownership. It signifies a level of achievement that epitomizes the “dignity of work," planning and responsibility.

Of late, this has come under pressure as the President Joe Biden Administration seeks to broaden government amenities meant to attract a greater reliance for unearned benefits. The concept of a “universal basic income” is also in vogue but will skyrocket our transfer payments and national debt. Time will tell how far socialism will proceed by those holding election certificates.

But the desire for homeownership is overwhelming and still considered a worthy goal. According to an Aug. 7 Star Tribune report, 73% of the 102 metro area cities are zoned for single-family residences. Compare that with 7% of metro space zoned for apartments greater than four units. As we all realize, there are pluses and minuses for both lifestyles.

Clearly the cost of maintenance takes time and money. Some of which necessitates the need for a contractor too. But this pays dividends both in personal satisfaction and future value. According to the “Mortgage Research Center,” homes typically increase at a long-term annual rate of 6%. This represents for most owners, their most significant accrual of personal wealth. But there is more to just the monetary upside to homeownership.

Almost forgotten, are the benefits to communities and the nation. The sense of accomplishment with homeownership is greater civic pride which is reflective in volunteerism and a sense of belonging. In other words, “ownership” means more than just the physical structure. A study by the “National Association of Realtors” confirms that the rate of crime, both as victims and perpetrators, is reduced as homeownership increases. Scholastic achievement is another marker that increases, as does physical and mental health.

What does this all mean? That homeownership is beneficial to everyone as it delivers a solid “win-win.” It is noteworthy to point out that the Minnesota Legislature recently (2019) formed a Housing Affordability Commission. We are fortunate to have Rep. Jim Nash (47A) leading the charge on the Republican side. His recent actions have elevated him to co-chair status of the commission as he pursues solutions, albeit difficult, to increase homeownership.

Hopefully bipartisan efforts with this issue can yield positive results — that we all benefit from. Let’s expand and reaffirm the American dream.

Joe Polunc

Waconia

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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