Lopsided Housing Rebound Leaves Millions of People Out in the Cold
Homeownership rate continues to decline as credit issues, student loans and high prices lead more to rent
The housing recovery that began in 2012 has lifted the overall market but left behind a broad swath of the middle class, threatening to create a generation of permanent renters and sowing economic anxiety and frustration for millions of Americans.
Home prices rose in 83% of the nation’s 178 major real-estate markets in the second quarter, according to figures released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors. Overall prices are now just 2% below the peak reached in July 2006, according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices.
But most of the price gains, economists said, stem from a lack of fresh supply rather than a surge of buyers. The pace of new home construction remains at levels typically associated with recessions, while the homeownership rate in the second quarter was at its lowest point since the Census Bureau began tracking quarterly data in 1965 and the share of first-time home purchases remains mired near three-decade lows.
The lopsided recovery has shut out millions of aspiring homeowners who have been forced to rent because of damaged credit, swelling student loans, tough credit standards and a dearth of affordable homes, economists said.