Magazine article USA TODAY

Homeowner Situation Not as Bleak as Reported

Magazine article USA TODAY

Homeowner Situation Not as Bleak as Reported

Article excerpt

Americans may own a larger share of their homes than is suggested by a Federal Reserve report, according to a nationwide survey by Ohio State University, Columbus. In its quarterly report, the Federal Reserve says that, in 2007, Americans' percentage of equity in their homes fell below 50% for the first time since 1945, to 47.9%. For most people, that means the bank or mortgage company owns a greater share of their home than they do. However, statistics from Ohio State show that homeowners have about 70% equity in their homes.

The discrepancy may be because the Fed report fails to account for homeowners who have paid for their home in full and thus have no mortgage, notes Randall Olsen, director of the Center for Human Resource Research. "Things are rough on the housing front, but they aren't as bad as some of these stories would lead us to believe. While many homeowners are hurting and the economy is definitely vulnerable, the sky is not falling. …

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