Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Americans Still Want to Own Their Own Homes, but Can They Afford Them?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Americans Still Want to Own Their Own Homes, but Can They Afford Them?

Article excerpt

The American dream of homeownership is alive and well, according to a report released today by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS). But the question of whether Americans who want to own homes will be able to afford them is less clear, due to the financial burdens of student debt, high rent prices, and the lingering effects of the housing market crash.

"The national housing market has now regained enough momentum to provide an engine of growth for the US economy, but obstacles continue to hamper the housing recovery," states a press release about JCHS's annual "State of the Nation's Housing" report for 2016, issued Wednesday.

Homeownership levels are at a 48-year low in the United States, as the proportion of Americans who rent their homes has been rising, the study noted. Researchers looked at contributing factors to evaluate if those trends will continue, or if the share of home ownership will make a comeback as the Millennial generation moves further into adulthood.

Compared with earlier generations , Millennials are more likely to hit life milestones that tend to precede entering the housing market at older ages. They're more likely to marry later, for instance, or delay moving out of Mom and Dad's house. A report by Pew Research Center released last month shows that there are now more Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 living with their parents than there are living with a partner or spouse or sharing a living space with roommates.

The data shows is a significant drop from the number of millennials who were living with a spouse or partner compared with Americans in that age range in 1960, the Christian Science Monitor Monitor's Josh Kenworthy reports.

The Harvard researchers, however, believe that as the generation ages these habitation trends will shift. They found that the number of households in the US (which does not refer to home ownership but to groups of people living together in units) is growing at a more normal pace - 1.3 million new households formed in 2015. They predict that this trend will increase to 2 million households formed each year in the coming years because of younger Millennials moving out of parents' homes. …

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