Friday, August 5, 2011

Where have all the homeowners gone?

According to this CNN MONEY article, Home ownership hits lowest level since 1965, we are becoming a nation of renters. This shouldn't be too surprising today. But, think about that a few years ago. 2006, for example. We never would have seen this coming.

Actually, Bob and I had a friend who did sell his condo in 2006 at the height of the market. We thought he was insane. Why? Why would you get out of the home owning game and go back to being a renter? Why?! Well, the answer was exactly what you would expect.

The answer was...

BIRD FLU.

Of course. Bird flu.

The most commonly sited reason for selling your property at the height of the housing bubble.

Our friend's mom was the co-owner of the condo and she was convinced that bird flu was going to be so devastating that it would crash the housing economy. I don't quite remember the logic. But, I'm telling you. She was convinced. Thoroughly.

So they sold. And made money. And people thought they were crazy.

In 2006.

Now. In 2011?

They kind of look like geniuses, right?

Well, I think they're geniuses. Or incredibly lucky. Or she has some kind of tricked out ESP. She clearly felt the impending crash.

Take bird flu out of the equation for a second. She knew the bubble would burst and that it would be terrible. So it wasn't because of bird flu. But who cares. She was right.

We've since lost touch, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were back in the home owning game and bought something at a bird flu bargain price. We'll just have to guess.

So, home ownership is the lowest it has been since 1965.

A show of hands, please. How many of you were home owners and are now renting?

Uh huh. Same here.

Now... how many of you are home owners (currently) with rental income?

Have you noticed a significant difference in the market? Has it been easier to get quality renters?

I imagine that the renters that are former home owners make for really good renters. Am I right? We're used to keeping a place up. Pride of ownership and all of that. If you're a landlord, I'd love to here what changes you've seen since the crash.

And if you're a born-again renter, how is it for you?

This article brings up so many points. It's too much to write about in just one post. But, in light of my last post about the American Dream today, I have to point to this excerpt from the piece:

In a February housing finance report, the Obama administration stated that its goal was to "ensure that Americans have access to an adequate range of affordable housing options. This does not mean our goal is for all Americans to be homeowners."

Did you see that? "This does not mean our goal is for all Americans to be homeowners."

Interesting, right? There's a deeper level of responsibility in that rhetoric that I appreciate. It reminds me of the quote from President Ford:

“My goal is homeownership for every American family that wants to own a home and is willing to work for and save for it.”President Gerald Ford, 1976
 
For every family that wants to own a home and is willing to work for and save for it.


Fair enough, Mr. President. Fair enough.


-Home Ownership Hits Lowest Level Since 1965: CNN MONEY

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