Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Fight Against Detractors of Homeownership

Excerpts from the National Association of Homebuilders' article:

Joining a sizable backlash against recent articles in Time magazine and elsewhere disparaging homeownership and attacking long-standing government policies to help families become home owners, major national news media have been publishing articles arguing in housing’s favor and disputing its critics.

“Since the bursting of the housing bubble, there has been a steady drumbeat from the factories of futurist punditry that the notion of owning a home will, and, more importantly, should become out of reach for most Americans,” Joel Kotkin writes in the Sept. 14 issue of Forbes magazine.

However, he points out in his article, “Why Housing Will Come Back,” home owners and those aspiring to become home owners “now represent the core of our economy without which a strong recovery is likely impossible. Houses remain as a financial bulwark for a large percentage of families, the anchor of communities, and, increasingly, home-based businesses.”

Despite the voices that have been raised against it, Kotkin concludes that homeownership, both in the single-family and multifamily markets, “is not likely to fade dramatically for the foreseeable future. The most compelling reason has to do with continued public preference for single-family homes, suburbs and the notion of owning a ‘piece’ of the American dream. This is why four out of every five homes built in America over the past few decades, notes urban historian Witold Rybczynski, have less to do with government policy than ‘with buyers’ preferences, that is, What People Want.’”

As part of the return to normalcy in the nation’s housing markets, Kotkin says that the historic balance between incomes and prices needs to be restored to where it takes two to three years of median household income to purchase a median-priced home, down from a ratio of 4.6 at the peak of the boom. That process is nearing completion in a large part of the country.

Among factors he cites working to housing’s long-term advantage: the U.S. population is projected to expand by 100 million by 2050; 60 million strong, the children of the baby boom are in their 20s and poised to start buying houses; in their pursuit of the American dream, immigrants are heading to the suburbs as fast as they can get there; multigenerational households are on the rise back to 1950s levels; and single-family houses are increasingly able to provide space for part- and full-time offices.

Painting the Room Purple

Responding specifically to the Time article by Barbara Kiviat, in the Sept. 21 Realty Times Bob Hunt, from the National Association of Realtors®, takes the author to task for blaming homeownership for “foreclosures and walkaways, neighborhoods plagued by abandoned properties and plummeting home values, a nation in which families have $6 trillion less in housing wealth than they did just three years ago.”

“But she is mistaken,” writes Hunt. “All those regrettable events were not caused by homeownership; they were caused by reckless lending programs.”

Digg It!
Buzz Up!
Add to Stumble
Add to Delicious
Twit This
Add to Facebook
Google Bookmarks
Sphere: Related Content