Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Slower Housing Market Can Offer Hidden Benefits

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Slower Housing Market Can Offer Hidden Benefits

Article excerpt

A major index tracking the housing sector indicated last week that the nation's housing market may be cooling off, and one financial adviser who focuses on working families thinks a slower housing market might be a blessing in disguise for many Americans.

"The real estate industry has done a great job persuading the American people that the American dream starts with homeownership. It's the biggest lie ever sold," said Patrick Bet-David, CEO of PHP Agency in Glendale, Calif., which specializes in financial services and life insurance.

"Hundreds of thousands of families are going through the pain and struggle of trying not to miss their next mortgage payments simply because they purchased a home prematurely."

The national market has been hot in recent years, as it picked up speed following the down years following the housing market slump implicated in the Great Recession.

But home price increases have slowed in 19 of the 20 cities tracked in the S&P/Case-Shiller Index. The most recent Case- Shiller survey shows prices increased 5.6 percent in July from the year before, which is a lower increase than the 6.3 percent gain seen in June and marks the slowest pace since November 2012.

Pittsburgh is not one of the cities in the Case-Shiller index, but real estate price patterns in this region appear to follow the national trend.

Median home prices in the five-county region in August increased only 1.8 percent over prices in 2013 compared to 9.3 percent in 2012.

Nationally, the homeownership rate declined in 2012 for the eighth straight year, according to the Housing Vacancy Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in conjunction with the Current Population Survey.

The homeownership rate for 2012 was 65.4 percent, down from 66.1 percent in 2011.

While many American families count their home as their most valuable financial asset, not all financial advisers encourage all their clients to aim for this goal. …

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