Home ownership was once an easily attainable goal for many, as a full-time job could usually support an entire family of four. Banks were willing to lend, and prices were actually reasonable for modest houses. Home ownership hasn’t been this low since the 1960s, to put things into perspective.
Financial firms have been allowed to put their interests ahead of their customers, leading to the economic collapse of the previous decade. The market has yet to recover with home ownership rates still below those present in 2004.
Here are a few of the many issues potential homeowners have to overcome before buying a place of their own.
Access to Credit
Banks and financial institutions are less likely to issue lines of credit to anyone without a positive payment history or cosigner, making it very difficult for a young person to get their foot in the door if they do not have a good support network at home. Your chance of being approved for a mortgage without a very good credit score is laughable at best. Some lenders have mortgage denial rates approaching 30%, spelling doom for many hard-working but lower income households.
Access to credit is keeping many working-class families from home ownership, but as stated by Internationbrief.com, “One of the most basic needs of any person, regardless of age, is a stable roof over their head.”
Though worker productivity has skyrocketed with the help of technology and automation, wages and buying power have dropped like a rock. Though the average worker today is almost 150% more productive than their counterpart in 1973, today’s wages have only risen around 9%.
Policy in the United States has been twisted into submission by the country’s elite; The top 1% of earners have seen their wages increase more than 130%, while the bottom 90% only saw a 15% bump. Even college-educated individuals aren’t immune from the lack of decent paying jobs, with hourly rates steadily dropping to levels that haven’t been seen since the 1990s.
High Rental Prices
The price of renting a place is almost 40% higher than what a mortgage would cost on average, while rental rates have outpaced inflation by close to 20%. Current median rent is around $860, meaning someone working minimum wage has less than $50 left after taxes per month on average to pay all their bills and buy groceries. It is estimated that an individual would have to make more than $20 an hour to afford even the most modest of housing, if we consider that housing should cost approximately 30% of one’s income.
Not Enough Money for Savings
Lower wages and higher rent and utility prices have eaten every last cent out of the budget of many. Fewer households are finding themselves with enough free cash lying around at the end of the month to put back in hopes of funding dreams of owning their own home. With lenders requesting higher and higher down payments and up-front fees, it can be almost impossible for some to save up enough cash to meet the demands.
The housing market is still recovering from the last big economic crisis very slowly. With widening wage inequality and less access to credit, it may be a very long time before we see significant growth in this market once again.