Much is made of the idea that home ownership creates positive externalities but for the most part we overlook the drawbacks. It is a part of the American Dream after all. Tim Hartford had a great column on the effects of homeownership recently (slate). Tim writes:
Wherever people seem particularly keen to own their own homes—as in the United Kingdom, Spain, and some U.S. states—employment suffers as a result. English economist Andrew Oswald has shown that across European countries, and across U.S. states, high levels of home ownership are correlated with high levels of unemployment. More conventional factors such as generous welfare benefits or high levels of unionization don't explain unemployment nearly as well as the tendency to own houses. Renting your home and staying flexible do wonders for your chances of always finding an interesting job to do.