U.S. households make long-awaited gains in housing recovery

The Wall Street Journal

According to an analysis of American Community Survey, housing affordability is finally improving for households across the U.S. Laura Kusisto of The Wall Street Journal shares new data regarding the improvement in affordability for homeowners. 

Middle-class families are starting to see their biggest housing challenges ease.

Housing affordability is finally improving after years during which the struggle to pay rent swelled to crisis levels for many poor and middle-class Americans, according to an analysis of American Community Survey data released Thursday.

Jed Kolko, chief economist at job-site Indeed and senior fellow at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley, said just over 49% of renters were cost-burdened in 2015, meaning they spent more than 30% of their incomes in rent, compared with about 50% a year earlier—the lowest level since 2008.

Indeed, across the board, there are signs that affordability challenges are beginning to ease. Some 33.6% of households were cost-burdened in 2015, meaning they spent more than 30% of their incomes on housing costs, down from 34.6% a year earlier, the fifth straight year of declines.

Much of the reason for the improvement in affordability for homeowners was low mortgage rates. Renters also appear finally to be seeing income gains that are outpacing rent growth.

[Read the full article here]

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