Banks are letting young people buy houses again
The American Dream still has a faint pulse.
Homeownership was long seen as a cornerstone of the American middle class, but in recent years, the emphasis has been on was.
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, homeownership has fallen to the lowest levels on record. The homeownership rate was 62.9 percent at the end of June, the last period for which we have data. That’s the lowest in the 50-odd years that the U.S. Census has collected data.
But things may be looking up. New numbers out Thursday morning show that the share of first-time homebuyers hit the highest level in four years in September, rising to 34 percent of all existing home sales for the month. (Existing homes, or homes that are already built, are the biggest chunk of U.S. home sales, rather than newly built homes.)
This makes sense in the context of other recent economic news. Median household income — the basic measure of how a “typical” U.S. household is doing — rose by 5.2 percent last year. That was the biggest one-year jump since these numbers have been tracked, starting in the late 1960s.
Higher incomes make homeownership more of a possibility, especially for young people. And the rate has nowhere to go but up. According to the National Association of Realtors, homeownership for 18-35 year-olds is currently at 34.1 percent, the lowest level since 1994.