Thursday, April 28, 2016

Economy Struggles and Homeownership Rate Falls While Rental Costs Rise

The lingering debt issues facing America and Americans continue to take their toll on how We the People are able and willing to live our financial lives.

Home prices and rental rates are rising rapidly. That said, homeownership rates remain at historic lows despite historically low interest rates. It's an affordability problem, for sure, and it's not going to be solved anytime soon.

The impact of the government misdirected, debt burdened economy coupled with the sluggish jobs situation and minimal income gains, when combined with an existing global capacity glut, highly indebted and slow growing worldwide economy, will continue to make things tough for most Americans.

And this ugly situation isn't likely to change much for the better for many years to come. See U.S. Growth Falters Amid Consumer, Business Caution which is subtitled 'First-quarter GDP notches worst performance in two years.'
But now let's look at the U.S. housing story specifically. Home ownership rate falls to third lowest on record tells it like it is:

"The rate that Americans own their homes fell in the first quarter to the third lowest on record, another indication that worsening finances as well as changing preferences since the Great Recession are altering behavior.

The Commerce Department reported that the ownership rate fell a 10th to a seasonally adjusted 63.6% in the first quarter, marking the third lowest figure since the 63.5% low in the second quarter of 2015. The ownership rate was 67.8% in the quarter when the U.S. entered recession.

The diminished interest, or ability, to own a home comes at a time when mortgages rates are low but house prices are climbing.

Freddie Mac reported the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.66% in the week ending
April 28. The 30-year mortgage has been below 4% throughout 2016, according to Freddie Mac data.

However, home prices are on the move, particularly out west. According to Case-Shiller data, prices nationally rose at a 5.4% clip in the 12 months ending February. Some cities including Denver and Portland are seeing double-digit percentage increases.

Rents also are picking up, however. The median asking price for rent was $870 in the first quarter, the Commerce Department reported, representing year-over-year growth of 8.9%."

Summing Up 

We're in heavy debt in a slow growth economy.

Working our way out of the hole we've dug for ourselves, with the 'huuuuge' helping hand from our politicians, of course, will take a very long time.

But the more we dig and the longer we delay the working out phase, the greater our burdens will become.

No amount of political spinning or self denial will change that simple fact of life.

So let's put down our shovels and start telling each other the truth.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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