A beautiful new home

For the past 40 years, home prices have sharply risen and homeownership has become increasingly out of reach for many American families. However, a collaborative approach involving builders and lenders can begin to bridge this gap.

Wages have only risen 16% since 2012. Home prices increased by 47% over the same period. Builders haven’t met the demand for homeownership for several decades due to a combination of factors, including high costs and regulation by state and local governments. Moreover, newly built housing is often erected in areas further and further from the economic centers where high-paying jobs are located.

Who is struggling to find a home?

According to a recent survey, only 31% of prospective homebuyers believe they will be able to purchase a home they can afford. Moreover, the Millennial and Generation Z cohorts are entering the housing market with less housing stock, larger amounts of debt, and high-paying jobs concentrated in areas with high housing costs as compared to their forebearers. These factors combine to delay homeownership for years for these respective age groups.

The pandemic further exacerbates the problem. A survey by Fannie Mae found that 40% of renters are experiencing financial strain due to the pandemic. Another study found disparities between White and minority homeownership rates. Between 1994 and 2019, white homeownership was between 70% and 80%, whereas Black and Hispanic rates were between 40% and 50%. According to Hugh Frater, Chief Executive Officer of Fannie Mae, these disparities can be linked to racial inequities baked into the system.

Benefits of Homeownership

Homeownership is linked with numerous benefits. For example, homeowners are more likely to be involved in the local government and invest in their region’s economy. Homeowners can also pass on more wealth to their offspring providing a base from which they can build their lives. Homeownership reduces crime, increases civic engagement, improves schools, and builds closer ties among community members.

Specifically, homeownership allows families to build equity, which can be used to upgrade (thereby increase the value of the investment) or purchase additional investments. Homeownership also provides significant tax benefits for first-time homebuyers and sellers, as well as substantial tax savings for mortgage interest payments. Homeowners can also assert more control over housing expenses than individuals renting because they aren’t subject to regular increases in their monthly payments; therefore, homeownership provides greater financial stability.