But just why is homeownership so important to building wealth? Here’s what the researchers at Harvard found in their 2013 research, and what it means for you today.
A Mortgage Forces You to Save
Buying a home through a mortgage forces savings through the form of the monthly payments of principal. Rent vs. buy arguments normally focus on the monthly payments, and the buying cost is a function of the monthly mortgage payment as well as escrows (insurance and property taxes).
But the mortgage payment comprises an interest component and a principal component, and the way the payments are split between interest and reduction of principal (the total amount borrowed) changes over time. In general, more interest is paid at the beginning of the mortgage. The longer you have the loan, the greater the share of your payments that is going to pay it down.
The payment of principal as the loan ages is, therefore, a forced savings plan whose deposits are growing—without any more being taken out of your pocket.
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