Owning a home is part of the American Dream. Financial experts tell us owning a car is better than leasing. And who would think of not owning the clothes you wear? The concept of “that’s mine” runs so deep it’s probably hardwired into our brains. To prove it, just try to take a toy away from a two-year-old.
On the other hand, the control of an asset is often more valuable than ownership. If you could lease a new $25,000 car for one dollar a month for 10 years, do you really care if you don’t own it? Absolutely not.
Or take a middle-aged tenant with a lifetime lease on a property subject to rent controls who pays rent at a tenth of current market rates. Who has the more value from that asset, the tenant or the owner? Clearly, the tenant has a valuable leasehold interest that in some cases could be worth more than the ownership interest.