Home Use in America

    Your house can, and often is, the most versatile part of your assets. Few things have the ability to pay you, keep you happy, keep you safe, and help you to live a long and fulfilling life. Even fewer things have the same ability of your house to increase your net worth. So, if you were to have a house, how would you use it? Would you use it to increase your net worth? Would you use it to increase your monthly worth? Or would you use your home to increase your own social standing? An interesting survey was done recently to give a decade long look over how Americans used their home.

    The numbers remain rather consistent over the course of the last decade with around 67% of homeowners using their home as their primary residence. Over that same amount of time this statistic only varies out of the 60-70% range in 2009 and 2010. This is arguably because of the housing market being in such great peril that a growing number of homeowners could no longer afford a vacation home or an investment property. As recovery has begun to take hold the number of Americans using their home as their primary residence has returned to its 2003 form showing normality is returning.

    The number of vacation homes remained rather steady throughout that same time never dipping below 9% or rising above 13%. This seems to show that Americans with vacation homes were rather unaffected by the housing market boom and/or crash. Still the dips experienced in the vacation home market happened in 2008-2010. Of course this can be attributed to the near collapse of the market during that same period (2007-2008). Still, there is no direct correlation connecting the rise or fall in vacation homes with the rise or fall in the number of homes being used as a primary residence.

    The really interesting data lies with the percentage of houses that were used as investment properties. Of course, an investment property can be discussing the houses that were simply flipped and sold while they can also include the properties used as rentals and various other income properties. The decade finished off almost where it started (21% versus 20%) but climbed up to 28% during the height of the housing market in 2005. Investment properties hit their lowest marks in 2009 and 2010 at 17% which correlates with the rise in homes being used as a primary residence. Still, the end of the decade finished off just about where it started.

    Americans use their homes for many purposes and many homeowners find new uses for their house. The three basic uses for a house (primary, investment, and vacation) are sufficient, however, to see where the market release has come from and where the market is headed. That’s the greatness in this whole system is that this allows us to see what the future will hold. So, what does you house do for you? Are you using it to your full potential or is there more you could be doing today?

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