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In this quote, Matthew Desmond is explaining some of the key benefits of homeownership for Americans as it relates to building wealth and savings. He states that many citizens “choose to develop their net worth through homeownership” because it is a “proven wealth builder” – meaning the equity one gains in a home as its value increases over time contributes significantly to their overall net assets.
He also describes homeownership as a “savings compeller” – implying that owning a home requires maintaining payments and builds the habit of setting aside funds regularly, which leads to greater savings.
So in summary, Desmond is highlighting how the process of paying a mortgage and owning real estate has positive long-term financial effects in terms of amassing wealth and learning disciplined savings behaviors.