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NHC Beyond 4 Walls Podcast

Despite Historic Drops in Home Prices, New Study Finds Housing Costs Are Actually On the Rise for America’s Families

While the U.S. foreclosure crisis has resulted in a historic drop in home prices, a new Center for Housing Policy report released today reveals that housing affordability has actually worsened for America’s families. The report, entitled Housing Affordability Trends for Working Households, examines the relative affordability of housing for low- and moderate-income working owners and renters between 2005 and 2008. The report’s analysis finds that the share of working owners with a severe housing cost burden – that is, the share of households spending more than half their income on housing – rose from 18 to 20 percent during the three-year period studied. The share of working renters spending more than half their income on housing stayed essentially the same between 2005 and 2008 at approximately 22 percent.

One of the main reasons why home price declines have not improved housing affordability is that most homeowners have not moved since the foreclosure crisis started and, as a result, have not benefitted from the lower prices. Other reasons why housing affordability has worsened include: utility costs that have grown at more than double the rate of inflation, increasing housing payments due to adjustable-rate mortgages resetting, and an unemployment rate that began trending up in the last year of the time period studied.

Watch: In this video, the Center’s Keith Wardrip, author of the report, provides an overview of the data, highlighting some of the most prominent trends.

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