The rate of home ownership for low- to moderate-income families with children is lower than in 1978, even as the overall rate of home ownership increases, according to a study from the Center for Housing Policy released Wednesday [CNN/Money].

The percentage of working class families that owned their homes in:

  • 1978: 62.5%

  • 2003: 59.6%

The study cites a combination of factors for the divergent trends, including soaring housing costs that have overshot wage increases, higher health care bills and a rise in the number of single parents.

Yet Fannie Mae says that overall homeownership is currently 69%, up from about 65% about 15 years ago.

Fannie Mae has been pushing their American Dream Commitment [FNMA] to enable minorities to enter home ownership.

In January of 2004, Fannie Mae pledged to help 6 million families — including 1.8 million minority families — become first-time homeowners over the next decade.

Affordable housing for the the working class and middle class in metro areas is going to be one of the major housing issues that government will be dealing with over the next 10 to 20 years as many Americans get priced out of homeownership. Housing prices surpassed personal incomes in the last several years.

Specifically in downtown urban centers, there are limited options for governments to encourage this type of development. It will have to be incentived in order for the developer to make it work. Land and construction costs now are too high for this type of development.

Note: in Manhattan land and construction costs have so quickly and so much that this is expected to choke off some of the new developments expected to enter the market.



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