The State of Housing

Jul 1, 2016

by David Levine, President/CEO

Every June I look forward to the release of the State of the Nation’s Housing Report, which is published by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The Report is probably the single most cited study of the condition of housing in our country.

On June 22nd, the 2016 State of the Nation’s Housing Report was released. You can find its executive summary here.

In looking at both homeownership and rental housing, the Report generally cites favorable trends.  At the same time, the reported statistics are sadly below what they were at the peak of the market in 2008/9.

So, for example, on the bright side, foreclosures have greatly fallen since 2008, where 670,000 households were involved in a foreclosure last year.  While falling, the reported foreclosures number masks another reality: The number of current foreclosures is still twice what it was prior to the Great Recession of 2008.

Also, the authors report that for every 100 renters, only 57 units of affordable housing are available nationwide. (For more extremely low income households, there are only 31 units for every 100 renters). As I’ve reported before — probably ad infinitum— the number of cost-burdened households has continued to increase, jumping by 3.6 million households since 2008 for a total of 21.3 million households.

Not surprisingly, the Report has a very specific call to action — more affordable housing.  It also acknowledges the many studies that show the permanent benefits of having grown up in safe housing.

In the words of the Report, “[there is] a growing recognition that children’s lifelong achievement rests on stable, safe, and healthy living conditions.”

So true.  It is what makes our mission of suitable, safe and affordable housing so critical to our community.