Buying or building a home requires the use of sound judgment in seeing that the personal needs of the family are best met with the funds available. It involves not only the carrying on of transactions of financing and buying or building, but it involves the proper determination of location with respect to school, to work, and to neighborhood.
Maintaining a high percentage of individual home-owners is one of the searching tests that now challenge the people of the United States. The present large proportion of families that own their homes is both the foundation of a sound economic and social system and a guarantee that our society will continue to develop rationally as changing conditions demand.
A family that owns its home takes a pride in it, maintains it better, gets more pleasure out of it, and has a more wholesome, healthful, and happy atmosphere in which to bring up children. The home-owner has a constructive aim in life. He works harder outside his home; he spends his leisure more profitably; and he and his family live a finer life and enjoy more of the comforts and cultivating influences of our modern civilization. A husband and wife who own their home are more apt to save. They have an interest in the advancement of a social system that permits the individual to store up the fruits of his labor. As direct taxpayers they take a more active part in local government. Above all, the love of home is one of the finest instincts and the greatest of inspirations of our people.
To-day, in the period of post-war recovery, when our National productivity is increasing, we have the opportunity to make definite progress in the right direction. Moreover, the development of the automobile has given a great impulse to suburban fife and an increasing possibility of home ownership. Happily, a large section of the people is awake to the problem, and an increasing number of business groups have publicly acknowledged their responsibility and interest in it. They realize that unnecessary barriers that may encompass a man determined to own his home are hindrances to good community spirit and to good business. They see that taking a neighborly interest in developing sound financing and other machinery for the use of home-seekers, and insisting on the observance of honest, straightforward methods by those who deal with home-seekers is not paternalism but good business and good citizenship. It is the "square deal" - and it is not only right but essential that the cards should not be stacked against the home-seeker.1
1 Adapted from Foreword to How To Own Your Home (Washington: Better Homes in America, 1929) and from "Home Building and Home Ownership," Child Welfare Magazine, April, 1927.
Fig. 1. - Attractively designed, conveniently planned house which received a Better Homes architectural merit award in 1930. Note the suitability to the particular site. (Stanley H. Withe house, Raymond J. Percival, architect, Hartford, Conn.) See floor plans on next page.
Fig. 2. - First-floor plan
Fig. 3. - Second-floor plan
If our standards of housing are not to lag behind our improving standards in the matter of food, clothing, education and recreation, we must count first of all on the energy and resourcefulness of individual families which determine to own their homes and have the character and ability to save up the amount of a first payment. For the demand for attractive, livable homes from families who can make a substantial first payment is the most dependable force to insure the building of the right kind of homes.
This demand can be encouraged and made more effective, from an economic point of view, by improved home financing facilities, especially in the field of second mortgages, by increasing efficiency within the construction industries, by improved layout of new residential areas, and by the co-operation of local governments in assuring orderly civic development through good city planning and zoning.
Rising standards for owned homes should tend to raise the standards of rented homes, which we may consider auxiliary. We have ample evidence that too great reliance on rented dwellings tends in the modern industrial state to inadequate housing and the demand for state participation in housing.
The large home-building program of the past five years has undoubtedly been instrumental in the maintenance of stable employment and prosperous business conditions, and a continued demand for homes is always a healthy factor in the general business situation.
When a family or a state or a nation does not pay enough attention to the future consequences of its acts, it is in peril. Looking to the future is a point of view which permeates a man's whole attitude and outlook on life. The home-owner, or the man who sees home ownership just ahead, inevitably has that point of view strengthened. While the home-owner's judgment as to the future may be warped in some cases, at some times, and there is always a need for liberality and thought and wisdom in meeting changed conditions, surely, the greater the number of home-owners, the greater confidence we may place in the future of our country.
1 Foreword to How To Own Your Home (Washington: Better Homes in America 1929).
Certain clear obligations rest upon us of the present generation. It behooves parents to achieve home ownership so far as they are able. We all ought to promote better facilities for the use of others who are striving to own their homes.1 ....