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Why Homeownership Isn't Catching Up With The Rest Of The Economy

Home ownership rates are at a 20-year low.  Millennials and more aren’t buying. We’ll look at what American’s think now about owning a home.

Realtor Helen Hertz stands in front of one of her listings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Hertz, a real estate agent for more than three decades, has seen firsthand what has happened to the market in the wake of the recession and foreclosure crisis. (AP)

Realtor Helen Hertz stands in front of one of her listings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Hertz, a real estate agent for more than three decades, has seen firsthand what has happened to the market in the wake of the recession and foreclosure crisis. (AP)

Do you want to own a home?  A house?  A condo?  After everything the country and the economy have been through, fewer Americans own a home today than at any time since 1995.  Almost twenty years.  The headlines on housing – if you care about owning – are dire.  “Home Ownership in America has Collapsed,” is typical.  Some look at Millennials as the no-shows in the market.  Millennials have their reasons.  So do a lot of others right now.  There’s still that American dream.  All cozy in your own home.  But it’s not everyone’s dream.  This hour On Point:  Home ownership in America.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Susan Wachter, professor of real estate and finance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. (@Susan_Wachter)

Derek Thompson, senior editor at The Atlantic. (@DKThomp)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: Homeownership in America Has Collapsed—Don’t Blame Millennials — ” In the last 20 years, homeownership has fallen less for young people than for any other age group under 64. Today’s historically low homeownership rate isn’t the result of the cheapest generation abandoning the housing market. It’s their older cousins, Generation-X, who are really running for the exit.”

New York Times: More Renters, Less Risk for Wall St. — “Tightening mortgage rules would no doubt make it more difficult to buy and sell homes. It would lead to more renters and fewer homeowners. That might be worth it, though. Germany is doing fine with a homeownership rate of 45 percent, compared with about 65 percent in the United States, which is actually down from a peak of near 70 percent in 2004.”

National Journal: Four Ways to Help Millennials Break into the Tight Housing Market — “When the housing sector slows down or stalls (see: The Great Recession), it drags down the health of the overall economy. The debate now among economists and industry advocates, like Stevens, is whether millennials will eventually enter the housing market as they age, or whether there’s been a permanent shift that has young people no longer interested in buying homes as prolifically as their parents did.”

 

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