O New York Times, relata um estudo de 2011 a cerca de 600 mulheres em Ohio que revelou não serem os proprietários mais felizes do que os locatários. O estudo foi conduzido por Grace Wong Bucchianeri, assistente na Wharton School da Universidade da Pensilvânia . Na verdade, as proprietárias afirmaram passar menos tempo no convívio com as amigas e manifestaram alguma tristeza por o serem.
Um crescente número de pesquisas sugere que gastar dinheiro em imóveis não significa necessariamente investir em felicidade. Na verdade, a ideia de cortar férias, refeições em restaurantes e outros extras, para poupar para a casa pode realmente ser prejudicial à felicidade. Especialistas em felicidade – um campo cada vez mais popular focada na compreensão científica do bem-estar emocional – dizem que as pessoas são mais felizes quando gastam dinheiro em experiências em vez de bens materiais, quer se trate de um carro novo ou um apartamento maior.
Homeownership, the Key to Happiness?
A growing body of research suggests that spending money on real estate doesn’t necessarily mean investing in contentment. Indeed, the conventional advice to cut back on vacations, restaurant meals and other extras in order to save money for a home may actually be detrimental to felicity. Experts in happiness — an increasingly popular field focused on the scientific understanding of emotional well-being — say that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material goods, whether it be a new car or a bigger apartment.
“People are making so many trade-offs in order to have that home,” said Elizabeth Dunn, an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbiawho studies consumerism and happiness. She recently explored the impact of housing on people’s happiness while compiling studies for a new book, “Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending,” which she wrote withMichael Norton, who teaches at the Harvard Business School.
The recession forced many people to curb their spending habits and re-evaluate their overall lifestyles. But after saving money for years, buyers encouraged by low mortgage rates are re-entering the housing market. They find the pickings slim. In Manhattan, the number of apartments for sale for the second quarter was at a 13-year low, stoking competition and driving up prices.
Now there is research like Dr. Dunn’s, emphasizing that when it comes to your overall happiness, “there are a lot of better things you could be putting your money toward” than real estate.
This isn’t necessarily bad news in a place like New York City, where nearly 70 percent of the housing stock is rentals. And it may offer some solace to frustrated buyers facing bidding wars and all-cash offers they simply can’t top.
“People still view housing as a central component of happiness and a critical aspect of the American dream,” Dr. Dunn said. “But there is little research to support that.”
A 2011 study of about 600 women in Ohio found that homeowners weren’t any happier than renters. The study was conducted by Grace Wong Bucchianeri, then an assistant professor of real estate at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Indeed, homeowners spent less time on leisure activities with friends and reported that they derived some pain from homeownership. What exactly caused that pain wasn’t indicated in the study, but financial experts say that people who make the leap from renting to buying can be caught off guard by the nuts and bolts.
“The reality of maintenance and repairs, and being ‘house rich but cash poor,’ can negate much of the perceived happiness people may have had about homeownership,” said Greg McBride, the senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com. Even if a low mortgage rate means you spend less each month than you did when renting, upkeep can drain a bank account faster than a leaking water heater.
What about the pleasure of living in a beautiful house in a coveted neighborhood? In adelightful screed posted in May on Medium.com, an online publishing site, Lindsey M. Green, a publicist for start-up and technology companies, writes about how even a lovely town house in a sought-after neighborhood can be a letdown.
Ms. Green moved to New York City in 2003 and sublet what she described as a “cramped, cheap, Far West Village studio.” She moved eight times within Manhattan over the course of nearly 10 years, even as her friends decamped for Brooklyn and sang its praises. “I was happy as could be as the last dinosaur in Manhattan,” she wrote.
In 2011 she moved to a two-bedroom two-bath in South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan with her then-boyfriend, now fiancé, Lockhart Steele, the founder ofCurbed.com. But in October 2012, flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy forced them to evacuate. So with all of the hype that Brooklyn was getting, they jumped at a six-month sublet in a newly renovated Cobble Hill town house.
“I could feel all the magazine headlines becoming my reality,” she wrote. “All of the ‘Best of New York’ picks in Brooklyn would suddenly make so much sense. I could become one of those people talking about how much better her life was, now that I finally made the move to Brooklyn.”
She hated it. “Moving to Brooklyn, even into a four-story town house on a beautiful block, in a neighborhood everyone loves,” she wrote, “didn’t make our lives better; it made our quality of life worse.” It didn’t matter that she was living in a lovely home — she missed the bustle of Manhattan and the sense of belonging she had felt there. As she put it: “Manhattan — its absurd inconveniences, annoyances, high rents, crowded bars and tourist-packed streets — is my yoga.”
Not everyone is crazy about Brooklyn. And at least one study suggests that the emphasis on location and physical characteristics (prewar charm, oak floors, a fabulous view) doesn’t have much bearing on our overall happiness.
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