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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    California or ground zero of the invasion

    Fewer families can afford a home

    Fewer families can afford a home
    By Noelle Knox, USA TODAY
    Nearly 70% of Americans own their homes, a record high, but the rate of homeownership for working families with children is lower than in 1978, according to a study being released Wednesday by the Center for Housing Policy.

    The surprising trend is being driven by a combination of factors: soaring housing costs that have overshot wage increases, higher health care bills and a rise in the number of single parents. (On Deadline blog: Read the housing study)

    Minority working families have struggled the most. Their homeownership rate has stagnated at 45%, far below white families (71%) as of 2003, the last year for which figures are available.

    The effects are being felt in communities where teachers, police and firefighters can't afford to live in the communities where they work, if they want to own homes.

    Some see longer-term consequences if the trend doesn't change.

    "You need a youthful workforce to replace people who are retiring," says Barbara Lipman of the Center for Housing Policy, the research arm of the National Housing Conference, a housing affordability advocacy group. "It's an important part of economic vitality."

    The drop in homeownership rates for working families carries repercussions for their children, too. Studies have shown that children of homeowners are more likely to perform well in school and are less likely to have behavior problems, Lipman says.

    Though her researchers lacked access to Census data after 2003, Lipman says the trend seems to have persisted.

    Homeownership for working families is highest in the Midwest, followed by the South, the Northeast and the West. That's no surprise to Sheila Harris of the Arizona Department of Housing. Home prices in that state have soared 49% since 2002, she said, while incomes have risen an average of just 3%.

    "Our governor has asked us to create a statewide task force to look for ways to create affordable housing," Harris said. The task force will focus on easing financial barriers, improving land access and providing creative financing for builders and buyers.

    In California, Marisela and Jose Bacaro know what a back-breaking challenge it is to have children and afford a home. Marisela, 24, works as a coordinator for Hollywood Records in Los Angeles; Jose, 25, works at a bottling plant in Los Angeles.

    On their salaries, it's hard to save money while raising Alexis, 6, and Emily, 4. "With kids, they always need something," Marisela says.

    The median-priced home in Los Angeles — half cost more, half less — is $529,000, far beyond their dreams. Instead, they're hoping to buy a condo with no down payment and an interest-only loan of $300,000.

    The study highlights a shortage of affordable homes.

    "There are government assistance programs, but they have a diminishing influence on the housing market," says Nicolas Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

    A key problem, Retsinas says, is that "the labor market in our economy produces lots of low-wage jobs. There is an incredible disconnect between the housing market and the labor market."
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  2. #2
    Senior Member gofer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    A key problem, Retsinas says, is that "the labor market in our economy produces lots of low-wage jobs. There is an incredible disconnect between the housing market and the labor market."
    And I wonder how this happened!!!!????

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