Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Declining State of Home Ownership in the U.S.

Two of the best measures of how affluent a society is, are the percentage of home ownership and the average size of a home.  After years of growth in both of those areas, we are now seeing rapid declines.

In 2004, the percentage of the population that owned their own home peaked at 69.2%.  This was primarily due to the Clinton Administration pushing the banks to extend loans to low income families.   A practice that the "W" Bush Administration eased up on.  Note those facts from the following graph from the St. Louis Federal Reserve's economic database:

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Today, the percent of home ownership is still declining at a rapid rate and the decline appears to not be abating.  The reason is simple.  With the median home price at $189,000, not many new buyers can afford the 20% down payment (averaged at nearly $38,000) needed to meet existing mortgage requirements.  To that point, 63% of Americans, in a recent survey, said they couldn't afford to pay a surprise auto repair of just $500.  Also understand, the real median household income is as low as it was almost 20 years ago.  That's a loss of 20 years of buying power since the recession.

The fact that people can't afford to put 20% down on  a home is also the reason that the average home size is falling in order to make homes more affordable.  The average home size hit a record 2,598 sq. feet in 2014; primarily driven by larger new homes.  Today, the average new home is just 2,392 sq. feet; meaning that the average size of all homes will be dragged down.  This loss of slightly more than 200 sq. feet is the equivalent of a room that is 14'x14'.  A significant loss of space.

The truth is that Americans aren't doing well despite what Barack Obama would have you believe.  Is this the "fundamental change" that the President promised us in 2008?


Homeownership Rate In U.S. Drops to the Lowest Since 1965:

Real Median Household Income:

Source of graph:

Most Americans can't handle a $500 surprise bill:

The Median Home Price Is $188,900. Here’s What That Actually Buys You:

Average home size sets new record:

Median new single-family home size shrinks by nearly 3% in Q2:

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