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This week’s chart chronicles the trends of home ownership and prices since the turn of the century. During the robust residential real estate market of the mid-2000’s, home ownership rates peaked at 69.2 percent with the home price index exceeding $200,000. However, the financial crisis of 2008 coupled with a surge of foreclosures and high unemployment rates have contributed to a decade low home ownership rate of 66 percent. Not surprisingly, the home price index has cratered as ownership has declined.
A recovery for home ownership and prices faces several headwinds. To begin with, plunging home prices, a shaky job market, and frail economy have many first time home buyers resistant to committing to a purchase, in spite of the attractive price opportunities. For purchasers looking to take advantage of low interest rates, other hurdles remain, chief among them stricter underwriting standards for mortgages and higher required down payments.
Collectively, these trends help explain the booming rental market of today, as seen from the perspectives of demand, supply, and investment. Perhaps more importantly, does this mean that the American dream of owning a home is quickly becoming a thing of the past?
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