Tag Archives: homeownership

JCHS Releases New Household Projections

by Dan McCue

Research Manager
Today, the Joint Center for Housing Studies posted its latest household projections. These new projections incorporate several updates to data that were made since our last projections in 2010. The 2013 projections use the Census Bureau 2012 Population Projections (released in late 2012 and early 2013), and also use more recent data to derive headship rates (ratios of households per person), specifically using data from the 2011-2013 Current Population Estimates and Current Population Survey March Supplements.
Aside from the new data, the JCHS projection methodology remains largely unchanged from that used to create the 2010 series. The most notable change is that unlike in 2010 we do not make any adjustment to the Census Bureau’s population projections, as our concerns about what seemed to be overly high estimates of future immigration levels have now been addressed in the latest projections from Census. Since we are using the 2012 Census population projections as published, the 2013 JCHS household projections now contain high, middle, and low series, whereas the 2010 projections only had a high and a low series. The projections are also carried out an additional ten years, and so now extend to 2035.
The 2013 JCHS household projections are consistent with those from 2010.  In the near term (2015-2025), they call for annual household growth rates ranging from 1.16 million in the low series to 1.32 million in the high series, not far from the span of 1.15–1.36 million per year in our 2010 projections.  Differences between the 2013 and 2010 series largely follow differences in the underlying population projections (Figure 1).  Some difference is also due to updated headship rates, which are calculated for every 5-year age group by race and averaged across the years 2011, 2012, and 2013.  These are now slightly lower overall than those from 2007, 2008, and 2009 used in the 2010 projections (Figure 2).  (Click to enlarge.)

032714_mccue_figure1_sm
Sources: 2008 and 2012 Census Bureau Population Projections and 2010 JCHS Household Projections.
Note: Adult headship rates use CPS/ASEC household counts and Census July 1 Estimates of the population age 15 and older.  Source: JCHS tabulations of Census Bureau data.032714_mccue_figure2_sm
Like the 2010 projections, our 2013 household projections also anticipate substantial growth in minority, senior, and single-person households in the coming decades (Figure 3).  In the 2015-2025 period for instance, minorities are projected to account for just over 76 percent of all household growth in each of the low-, middle-, and high- projections, with Hispanics alone accounting for 40 percent of total household growth. Additionally, growth in the number of households age 65 or older during this period is also expected to be 91 percent of the net change in households under the low projection and 81 percent in the high projection. As a result of the growth in senior households, single-person (4.4-4.7 million) and married-without-children households (4.0-4.3 million), two of the largest groups that comprise senior households, will together comprise nearly three quarters of all household growth in 2015-2025, but the number of married with children households will also see some growth as millennials age.
032714_mccue_figure3_sm

Source: 2013 JCHS Household Projections.

Tenure Scenarios Presented as Well
The report also includes a simple homeowner and renter projection scenario.  Under a steady-state scenario of constant homeownership rates by age, race, and household type, this analysis offers one look at how demographic changes in the composition of households may influence future homeownership rates. In this scenario, changing demographics are expected to be a positive influence on the overall homeownership rate through about 2025 (Figure 4).  After that time, the upward influence of the aging of the population gives way to greater downward pressure from young adult and minority household growth.  Figure 4 shows how downward pressure on homeownership rates is steepest in the high projections which, unlike the middle- and low-projections, expects no demographically driven growth in homeownership rates through 2025.
032714_mccue_figure4_sm
Note: Homeownership rates by age, race/ethnicity, and household-type are held constant. 
Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies tabulations of 2013 JCHS Household Projections.
Users of these estimates are cautioned that that they should be considered baseline projections and not a growth forecast. Actual household growth could deviate dramatically over short periods of time, as the projections reflect long-run, demographically driven trends and do not allow for any adjustments either upward or downward in response to changing economic conditions or cyclical factors.  Indeed, favorable economic conditions could increase headship rates above levels assumed in the projection and increase household growth, while a variety of factors could weigh down economic opportunities and result in lower household formation rates that depress future household growth.  

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JCHS: Why We Should Care About the Great Recession’s Most Unfortunate Victim: Homeownership

Why We Should Care About the Great Recession’s Most Unfortunate Victim: Homeownership

 by Rob Couch
Guest Blogger
From time to time, Housing Perspectives features posts by guest bloggers. This post was written by Rob Couch, a member of the Banking and Financial Services, Real Estate and Governmental Affairs practice groups at the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Birmingham, Alabama.  Rob also serves on the Housing Commission of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC..  Previously, he served as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as President of the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae). His post reflects thoughts he shared at a Brown Bag Lecture delivered at the Harvard Kennedy School on November 14, 2013.In my lunchtime talk at the Harvard Kennedy School, sponsored by the Joint Center for Housing Studies, I discussed why recent government efforts enacted in the wake of the financial meltdown have caused increasingly stringent underwriting standards. These efforts have resulted in fewer homeowners, particularly first time purchasers, and the widening of the homeownership gap between certain minorities and white Americans. One of the questions from the audience during my talk came from a young man who challenged the continuing validity of the “Dream of Homeownership.”

After the bubble of 2007, some might think homeownership isn’t as worthy a goal as it used to be. In particular, younger Americans who have recently witnessed homeowners suffer financial loss or foreclosure due to declining home values or job loss may be especially wary.  A sizable percentage of young people are not yet in a stable career and want the flexibility that renting offers, and many young Americans who do want to own a home cannot meet underwriting criteria or afford a down payment given the combination of student loan debt and high unemployment.

Nonetheless, as Eric Belsky explains in his paper, The Dream Lives On: The Future of Homeownership in America, most young adults surveyed say they intend to buy a home in the future.   Furthermore, the results of several surveys cited in Belsky’s paper reveal that a majority of both owners and renters believe that owning makes more sense than renting. And for good reason; numerous studies have confirmed the economic and societal benefits of owning a home.

As a homeowner makes payments against his mortgage, and as the value of the property appreciates, the borrower’s equity in the home increases. If necessary, this equity can be accessed though the sale of the home or through a “cash out” refinance or a revolving line of credit. Homeowners also enjoy tax benefits as, in most cases, the annual interest paid on a mortgage and property taxes are fully deductible. Due to the long-term fixed-rate feature of most mortgages and the lifetime cap placed on adjustable-rate mortgages, homeowners are insulated from some of the inflationary pressures on the cost of housing faced by renters.

For the past thirty years, the wealth gap between the most affluent citizens and moderate wealth families in the United States has steadily widened. Households that are able to convert their greatest monthly living expense – rent—into a tax protected asset through amortizing long-term debt have a powerful tool for accumulating wealth. The family that owned its own home in 2010 had a median net worth of $174,500, compared to families who rented and had a net worth of $5,100. Belsky’s paper provides a more detailed analysis of the financial benefits of homeownership.

The benefits of homeownership extend beyond the financial ones, though. Children who grow up in owned homes have higher academic achievement scores in both reading and math and have a25% higher high school graduation rate than children whose parents rent. Children of homeowners are twice as likely to acquire some post-secondary education, and they are 116% more likely to graduate college. As adults, they earn more and are 59% more likely to own their own home, extending the benefits of homeownership on to the next generation.

Society as a whole also benefits from homeownership. Research has shown that homeowners are more likely to be satisfied with their neighborhoods, and thus more likely to give back to their communities. People who own their homes more often participate in civic activities and work to improve the local community, and they are 15% more likely to vote. Lastly, they tend to have greater longevity in a residence, leading to a more stable neighborhood.

Considering the benefits homeownership offers to society as a whole, young Americans aren’t the only demographic group affected by recent policies. Recent reports estimate that the African-American community, with wealth more concentrated in homeownership than any other asset, lost more than 50% of its net worth during the housing crisis. The deterioration in homeownership has been disproportionately severe on African-Americans, Hispanics, and younger people, leading to a widening of the gap in minority/white homeownership rates.

Recent government efforts to protect borrowers who fail to pay their loans, particularly settlements that have been extracted from the industry and increased servicing standards, have had the effect of compounding the losses from bad loans, thereby encouraging even more conservative lending and hurting a much larger group of potential borrowers by depriving them of the opportunity to achieve homeownership. The overarching policy goal should be to facilitate homeownership, not to shift the burden of non-performance from defaulters to aspiring borrowers. Policies need to change if we wish to continue making homeownership a reality for the broadest group of eligible borrowers in the United States.  My recent paper, The Great Recession’s Most Unfortunate Victim: Homeownership, discusses how we can address this important issue.

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JCHS: A Housing Recovery, but Not for All Americans

A Housing Recovery, but Not for All Americans

by Eric Belsky
Managing Director

Driven by rising home prices and growing demand, the U.S. housing recovery is well underway, according to our latest State of the Nation’s Housing report released today. While still at historically low levels, housing construction has finally turned the corner, giving the economy a much-needed boost. But even as the recovery gains momentum, millions of homeowners are still delinquent on their mortgages or owe more than their homes are worth, and severe housing cost burdens have set a new record.

Driven by an increase of 1.1 million renter households, last year marked the second consecutive year of double digit percentage increases in multifamily construction. But the flip side of the strong rental market was the continued slide in homeownership rates. Even as historically low interest rates have helped make the monthly cost of owning a home more favorable than any time in the past 40 years, the national homeownership rate fell for the eighth straight year in 2012. The drop was especially pronounced for 25–54 year olds, whose homeownership rates were at their lowest point since recordkeeping began in 1976.

Note: White and black households are non-Hispanic; Hispanic households can be of any race.
Source: JCHS tabulations of US Census Bureau, Current Population Surveys.

Tight credit is also limiting the ability of would-be homebuyers to take advantage of today’s affordable conditions and likely discouraging many from even trying.  At issue is whether, and at what cost, mortgage financing will be available to borrowers across a broad spectrum of incomes, wealth, and credit histories moving forward.

And while the recovery is good news for many, the number of Americans shelling out half or more of their incomes on housing is at an all-time high. At last count, 20.6 million households were shouldering such severe burdens, including nearly seven out of ten households with annual incomes of less than $15,000 (roughly equivalent to year-round employment at the minimum wage). But, the report notes, even as the need has never been greater, federal budget sequestration will pare down the number of households receiving rental housing assistance.

Notes: Severely cost-burdened households spend more than 50 percent of pre-tax income on housing costs.  Incomes are in constant 2011 dollars, adjusted for inflation by the CPI-U for All Items.
Source: JCHS tabulations of US Census Bureau, American Community Surveys.

With rising home prices helping to revive household balance sheets and expanding residential construction adding to job growth, the housing sector is finally providing a much needed boost to the economy, but long-term vacancies are at elevated levels in a number of places, millions of owners are still struggling to make their mortgage payments, and credit conditions for homebuyers remain extremely tight. It will take time for these problems to subside. Given the profoundly positive impact that decent and affordable housing can have on the lives of individuals, families, and entire communities, efforts to address these urgent concerns as well as longstanding housing affordability challenges should be among the nation’s highest priorities.

Download the 2013 State of the Nation’s Housing report.

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JCHS: More Working Americans Struggling to Afford Housing

More Working Americans Struggling to Afford Housing

by Eric Belsky

Managing Director
With growth in incomes lagging growth in housing and utility costs, the share of Americans spending large sums of their income on housing has climbed nearly uninterrupted for decades.  But the Great Recession has taken an especially heavy toll, as millions of families have slipped down the income scale due to job loss or curtailment of hours. Indeed, while households with incomes under $15,000 made up only 12 percent of all households in 2001, they made up 40 percent of the net growth in the number of households over the past ten years. Faced with reduced incomes, some of these households have moved so that they can save on housing costs but many others are instead stretching to make their rent or mortgage payments.As shown in Figure 1, even households with incomes above $15,000 (slightly above the equivalent of full-time work at minimum wage) are finding it harder to keep up with housing costs.  Fully 64 percent of all households with incomes in the $15,000-$30,000 range are housing cost burdened, spending 30 percent of their income on housing and utilities. Among those with incomes of $30,000-45,000, a smaller but still substantial 42 percent are cost burdened, while more than a quarter of those with incomes in the $45,000-$60,000 range are cost burdened. These shares are each up over seven percentage points across all three of these income bands in just the past ten years.

Notes: Income groups are defined using inflation-adjusted 2011 dollars.  Cost-burdened households spend more than 30% of pre-tax household income on housing costs. 

Source: JCHS tabulations of US Census Bureau, American Community Surveys.

Renters and owners are both experiencing rising housing cost burdens. On the rental side, the share of renters with cost burdens has doubled, from a quarter in 1960 to a half in 2011, while the share with severe cost burdens (spending more than half their income on housing and utilities) shot up from 11 percent to 28 percent over that period, spiking in the last decade. Renters with incomes of $15,000-$30,000 who have severe cost burdens climbed from 2.0 million in 2001 to 3.2 million in 2011, and those with incomes of $30,000-$45,000 doubled from 300,000 to 600,000.

Cost burdens have also reached record highs for homeowners. Among homeowners under age 65, 39 percent of those earning one to two times the minimum wage and 18 percent of those earning two to three times the minimum wage are now severely housing cost burdened.

Notes: Income groups are defined using inflation-adjusted 2011 dollars.  Severe housing cost burdens are households who spend more than 50% of pre-tax household income on housing costs. 

Source: JCHS tabulations of US Census Bureau, American Community Surveys.

There is an irony to the situation of homeowners: millions of them can’t take advantage of today’s low rates to lower their housing costs because their homes are worth less than they owe on their mortgages. Despite many federal efforts to ease the path to refinancing for such owners, it remains blocked for large shares of them.  Those who have loans not endorsed by FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac are out of luck.  And for those with loans endorsed by these agencies, they may still not meet credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and documentation requirements for refinancing.  Even if existing owners can refinance, loss of an earner or curtailment in hours may result in payments that still stretch them thin.

These affordability problems are not likely to abate any time soon.  Rents are back on the rise, and in many areas sharply. Incomes remain under pressure from high unemployment rates and an ongoing shift in the composition of jobs to lower paying work, where entry-level workers in many key occupations are priced out of affordably covering their housing costs. For example, two-thirds of households that include a retail worker in the lowest wage quartile for that occupation are severely cost burdened, along with seven in ten of those including a childcare worker in the lowest wage quartile for that occupation.

Meanwhile a golden moment is being missed to place people into homeownership at record low interest rates.  Additionally, home prices have fallen by about a third nationally, and by much more in many places. As a result, relative to renting, the cost of owning a home for first-time buyers has not been as favorable for at least 40 years, on average, nationally. But lenders are reluctant to lend, fearful of the impact of new regulations and that they will have to buy back poorly performing loans. As a result, many would-be homebuyers are missing a chance to lower their payments relative to today’s rents and also to lock in their mortgage costs with extraordinarily low fixed-rate loans.

Having so many Americans spend so much on housing is a concern not just for those affected. Housing cost burdens affect the national economy, leaving less to spend on other items and making it harder for Americans to save for the future.  As an example, families with children in the bottom quarter of spenders with housing and utility payments of more than half of total outlays spent a third as much on healthcare, half as much on clothes, and two thirds as much on both food and pension and insurance as those with housing outlays of less than 30 percent. In retirement, more will be entitled to programs like Medicaid, placing strains on social service systems.

Note: Low-Income families with children are those in the bottom expenditure quartile. Severely cost burdened households spend over half of all expenditures on housing; unburdened households spend less than 30 percent.   

Source: JCHS tabulations of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Hemmed in by budget pressures and the enormity of the problem, our political leaders have done little to forestall or address growing housing affordability problems. Federal programs are costly and also have limited reach. Indeed, only about a quarter of all renters eligible for housing assistance (those earning half or less local area median incomes) receive it and there is essentially no comparable program to help struggling homeowners apart from a very small, temporary, emergency program put in place in 2010.

Still, some places at least, have found ways to reduce housing costs in their areas through regulations and land use policies that do not involve taxpayer subsidies or tax incentives.  These include some cities that are relaxing minimum unit-size requirements to encourage production of small micro-units of only a few hundred square feet.  Others with markets strong enough have been offering density bonuses to encourage set-asides of affordable housing units in new construction projects.  Yet most local governments continue to restrict residential densities.  Lenders, meanwhile, are so cautious after having so badly missed the mark with their lending standards that many who could lock in today’s low home prices and record low rates are unable to do so.

Americans will face daunting housing cost burdens that thwart savings and sap spending on non-housing items until: 1) lenders ease standards back to reasonable levels, 2) homebuilders are freed of barriers preventing them from building at greater densities, and 3) governments provide greater tax incentives or subsidies to close the gap for more low and moderate-income households between what they can afford and the costs of market-rate housing.

 

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HVS: Q3 Homeownership and Vacancy Rates

HVS: Q3 Homeownership and Vacancy Rates

by Bill McBride on 10/30/2012 

The Census Bureau released the Housing Vacancies and Homeownership report for Q3 2012 this morning.

This report is frequently mentioned by analysts and the media to track the homeownership rate, and the homeowner and rental vacancy rates. However, based on the initial evaluation, it appears the vacancy rates are too high.

It might show the trend, but I wouldn’t rely on the absolute numbers. My understanding is the Census Bureau is investigating the differences between the HVS, ACS and decennial Census, and analysts probably shouldn’t use the HVS to estimate the excess vacant supply, or rely on the homeownership rate, except as a guide to the trend.

Homeownership RateClick on graph for larger image.

The Red dots are the decennial Census homeownership rates for April 1st 1990, 2000 and 2010. The HVS homeownership rate was unchanged from Q2 at 65.5%, and down from 66.3% in Q3 2011.

I’d put more weight on the decennial Census numbers and that suggests the actual homeownership rate is probably in the 64% to 65% range.

Homeowner Vacancy RateThe HVS homeowner vacancy rate declined to 1.9% from 2.1% in Q2. This is the lowest level since 2005 for this report.

The homeowner vacancy rate has peaked and is now declining, although it isn’t really clear what this means. Are these homes becoming rentals? Anyway – once again – this probably shows that the trend is down, but I wouldn’t rely on the absolute numbers.

Rental Vacancy RateThe rental vacancy rate was unchanged from Q2 at 8.6%, and down from 9.8% in Q3 2011.

I think the Reis quarterly survey (large apartment owners only in selected cities) is a much better measure of the overall trend in the rental vacancy rate – and Reis reported that the rental vacancy rate has fallen to the lowest level since 2001.

The quarterly HVS is the most timely survey on households, but there are many questions about the accuracy of this survey. Unfortunately many analysts still use this survey to estimate the excess vacant supply. However this does suggest that the housing vacancy rates have declined sharply.

Read more at http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2012/10/hvs-q3-homeownership-and-vacancy-rates.html

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How an Aging US Population Will Drive Home Prices Higher — PragCap

How an Aging US Population Will Drive Home Prices Higher

  • 10/24/2012

By Walter Kurtz, Sober Look

It is a well known fact that homeownership in the US has been on a decline, a trend that started even before the financial crisis. Now Moody’s predicts this trend will begin reversing next year.

Homeownership

Dotted curve is Moody’s projection (Source: Moody’s)

Their explanation has to do with demographics. Baby boomers are moving into the highest homeownership group by age, while “echo boomers” (children of baby boomers) are getting to the age at which they are significantly more likely to own a home than the younger age group.

Moodys: – Demographics will also generate much of the gain in homeownership over the next decade, with a growing share of households aging into the highest homeownership groups. Baby-boomers are aging into the 65 and older cohort, the age group with the highest homeownership rate, while echo boomers have entered the 30- to 45-year-old cohort, which traditionally makes the largest gains in homeownership.

Historical data tends to support this assumption. The jump in ownership from the 25-29 cohort to the 30-34 is the sharpest – which is where echo boomers are now transitioning.

Homeownership by age

Source: Moody’s

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JCHS: Over the Next Two Decades, Baby Boomers will Age in Place

Over the Next Two Decades, Baby Boomers will Age in Place

 by George Masnick Fellow
Over the next two decades, the entire Baby Boom generation (age 45-64 in 2010) will cross the 65+ age threshold. Baby Boom homeowners have dominated housing markets for so many decades that it is easy to imagine them exercising a large influence during the next two decades as they move into their senior years. A recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Commission makes just that case, arguing that the next twenty years should see significant additions to the housing stock released by aging Baby Boomers because of discontinued household headship and death.But this report fails to underscore that the vast majority of Baby Boom household dissolution won’t occur until after 2030. Only about 15 percent of the 46+ million units Baby Boomers now occupy will be turned back to the market between now and 2030, assuming cohort household dissolution rates held constant at 2000-2010 levels. This works out to about 1 million total Baby Boomer housing units returned to the market between 2010 and 2020, and another 6.2 million between 2020 and 2030.  For owner-occupied housing, these numbers are 165,000 during 2010-2020 and 5.2 million between 2020 and 2030.  If Baby Boomers are healthier and live longer than their immediate predecessors, these numbers should be even lower. Read More…

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