Why are Americans obsessed with owning detached single family dwellings?
Not that there is anything wrong with it. Having a home of your very own is nice but the obsession with getting one is riduculous. I for one do not want a house of my own because there is all that yard work and responsibility in regards to repairs etc. and if you need to move you can't really. You and your assets are tied to this building and mobility for better oportunities is curtailed.
On the flip side I can see some positives. You can remodel and landscape with out getting anyones permission, heck you can knock down an entire wall and when you realize it is load bering you only have yourself to blame. Once the morgage is paid off, no more rent. Just property taxes and bills. You cannot lose you property to foreclosure anymore, or can you?
It has been hashed over and over again by much smarter people than me and better writers. The high rate of foreclosures a few years ago in the US was the direct result of this strange subset of the American dream that stated that you are nothing and you have not really made it until you are living in your very own single family detached dwelling, preferrably in a gated community or a culdesac. Never mind that the bank still technically owns it not you, you are just living in it and have the hope of someday finishing paying off the mortgage and really owning it when you are 63.
Finnish people like having their own homes too. They used to have an incentives program here that gave low interest loans to youn families to have their own houses. Now that is no longer the case. Now if you get more money the logical step is not to buy your own house but perhaps an apartment. Some older finnish homes are infact so tiny that you get more space in an apartment with the same number of rooms.
I also hear that renters in America are seen as shifty unsettled people. While that may be true is it better to get an adjustable rate mortgage on a house you have neither the brains nor the financies to afford?
Getting a detached single family dwelling in America is a faustian bargain. You risk a lot for it. You get a loan and if all of a sudden you are unable to pay it off you lose everything. You lose the place you were calling home, perhaps in the middle of remodeling, you had become attached and thought of it as your home. When it is taken away you feel a lot of anger and resentment toward the bank and you credit rating is ruined. Perhaps the apropriate emotion to feel might be some regret at making this bargain in the first place. By this I am not saying no one should get home loans, I am saying that if it ends up in foreclosure it might have been a mistake.