There is one clear solution to the affordable-housing crisis: a real estate crash. It's the one housing issue that attracts media attention - because it would hurt the Owns. But while an easing of prices could be devastating for lower-income Owns with risky mortgages, it probably wouldn't bring home ownership within reach for many Own-Nots. Prices have too far to fall; in 2000, two-thirds of the home sales in Fairfax were for $250,000 or less, but last year, fewer than one-twentieth were. And even a modest price slump could trigger a construction slowdown that would make shortages of affordable housing for moderate-income families even worse.
Eventually, politicians may rediscover housing - not as an urban poverty issue, but as a middle-class quality-of-life issue, like gas prices or health care. Homeownership is often described as the American dream, but these days many workers would settle for a decent rental that won't bankrupt their families.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Priced Out Of House And Home
The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, USA:
Posted by Housing Affordability at 11:08 am