Reported by April Taylor
A report commissioned by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and conducted by Hart Research Associates has revealed some unnerving things about the American housing market. The report, titled “How Housing Matters Survey,” found that the majority of Americans, 52 percent to be exact, have had to get a second job, defer saving for retirement, cut back on healthcare, incur credit card debt, or move to a less safe adequate neighborhood for the sake of being able to pay their rent or mortgage.
According to Lawrence Yun, the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, despite the recovery of the housing market, affordability is a central issue for many Americans. This can largely be attributed to the fact that wages have remained relatively stagnant while housing prices have increased 20 percent in just the last two years.
Another finding of the report is that at least 15 percent of Americans are forced to spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent or mortgage payments. Daren Blomquist, who is the vice president at RealtyTrac – a real estate data firm, points out that 30 percent of a household’s median income has historically been considered the threshold for affordability.
In what seems to be a foregoing of the American dream, 43 percent of those who were surveyed in this study stated that owning a home no longer seemed like “an excellent long-term investment and one of the best ways for people to build wealth and assets.” In addition, over half of survey respondents felt that buying a house was less appealing.
Consumers clearly are still struggling to adjust to the new housing landscape. Despite gains in home sales and values, the average American is not necessarily reaping the benefits of an improved housing market.