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Millennials Aren't Homeowners —and They Shouldn't Be

It keeps them flexible, writes Washington Post columnist

(Newser) - Homeownership is down among all age groups to 63%, the lowest level in half a century, but the figure is much worse for those under 35—a record low of 34%. And as Catherine Rampell writes at the Washington Post , all kinds of theories are being floated to explain millennials'... More »

Dear US, Make People Pay for Their Own Houses

Government has too many mortgage subsidies, argues New Yorker writer

(Newser) - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced last month they would guarantee mortgages for first-time home buyers who put down only 3%. It's another move by the US government to encourage homeownership—along with tax breaks, mortgage-interest deductions, property tax write-offs, etc.—and must be a good thing, yes?... More »

Americans Are Way Too Eager to Buy Houses

Houses aren't great long-term investments, Catherine Rampell argues.

(Newser) - Last week, Gallup released a poll showing that Americans, in Catherine Rampell's words, "still financially fetishize homeownership." Despite the financial crisis, respondents still considered real estate the best long-term investment—which "baffles" Rampell because, by her calculations, home prices have risen at a compound rate of... More »

Report: Key Mortgage Tax Break Just Helps the Wealthy

Lawmakers are fiercely protective of popular interest deduction

(Newser) - The tax code is rife with home ownership incentives that are both popular with voters and staunchly defended by lawmakers. But it turns out the breaks mostly just help rich people buy pricier houses, according to a new report from the right-leaning R Street Institute. They "don't encourage... More »

29% of Homeowners Are Mortgage-Free

Including 34.5% of those homeowners ages 20 to 24

(Newser) - In a country ravaged by the housing crisis, a hefty chunk of homeowners—some 29.3%—have escaped the mortgage burden entirely, a new report by Zillow finds. A great deal of the 20.6 million Americans who own their homes outright are retirees: 77.6% of people 85 and... More »

One in 30 Homeowners Over Age 75 in Foreclosure

AARP says delinquency growing among the over 50 crowd

(Newser) - Older Americans are increasingly feeling the hovering specter of foreclosure, after years of not suffering as acutely from the housing crisis, according to a new AARP report. While younger Americans still have a higher rate of serious delinquency, older Americans are now falling behind at a much faster rate, the... More »

Becoming a Nation of Renters Might Save Us

It might just fuel the 'next boom': Daniel Gross

(Newser) - Homeownership is down and renting is up, and that surely means bad news for the economy and people's finances, right? Wrong, argues Daniel Gross in the Wall Street Journal . In fact, it's a beautiful thing. "The new realities of our increasingly mobile economy make it more likely... More »

Great Time to Buy? This Renter Says No Thanks

Need for mobility trumps low prices: Justin Martin

(Newser) - Realtors scratching their heads at why more would-be homebuyers aren't jumping at record low mortgage rates will want to read Justin Martin's pro-renting essay in the Christian Science Monitor . In theory, he's the model potential buyer: He's a renter in his 30s with a good job... More »

Housing Prices Hit New Recession Low

And there's no bottom in sight

(Newser) - The housing industry keeps finding new lows: Today's Case-Shiller price index shows that prices fell in the first quarter to the lowest levels since the crash began, reports the Wall Street Journal . The drop of 4.2%, on top of last quarter's 3.6% drop, is evidence of... More »

US: OK, Not Everyone Needs to Own a Home

Plan to dissolve Fannie and Freddie marks a shift in philosophy

(Newser) - The federal government is having a change of heart about what constitutes the American Dream. It long pushed the notion that people should own homes—one of the factors blamed for the housing mess—but a new proposal to dissolve Fannie and Freddie marks a pullback from that philosophy, reports... More »

10 Reasons to Buy a House

Housing market gloom is over-hyped

(Newser) - Has the housing crisis scared you out of the market? Too bad, because there are still many good reasons to buy, writes Brett Arends in the Wall Street Journal . A few points to consider before hopping on the first train to rents-ville:
  • You could get a deal: Prices are down—
... More »

Foreclosures on Pricey Properties Pick Up

Well-to-do buyers weren't immune to wacky loans, and they're coming due

(Newser) - The country's most expensive homes are now making up a larger segment of foreclosures in the most recent spike of mortgage defaults. An analysis of recent data shows that 30% of June foreclosures involved homes valued in the top third based on location; that’s up from just 16% at... More »

Don't Hate Me: I'm Just Here to Clean Up

Clearing the detritus of owners' dreams from bank-owned homes

(Newser) - Cindy Reid doesn’t want you to think she and her boss—and boyfriend—are the “bad guys.” But it is difficult when her man is the one “you never want to see pull up to your house. He has eyes that go flat when you offer ... More »

In Recession, Homeowners Nail Contractors

As many vie for projects, consumer gains the upper hand

(Newser) - Hiring a contractor to remodel a kitchen or resurface a floor once meant a lot of hassle and some serious cash. But the recession has changed all that: Contractors these days are ready and willing to work on the cheap, Time reports. Projects are smaller, and spending on remodeling is... More »

Nukes? Climate Change? Love 'Em to Death

Newsweek scribe lists a few issues pundits may misunderstand

(Newser) - Few so-called experts predicted the subprime meltdown or the September 11 attacks, Jacob Weisberg writes in Newsweek—so what else might the pundits be wrong about?
  • Nukes are bad: An influential political scientist “argues that possessing nukes induces restraint and caution, causing irresponsible regimes to behave more responsibly.”
... More »

Exurbs, Once Meccas for Homeowners, Now for Rent

Economy trumps plans for thriving communities

(Newser) - Not long ago, the exurbs were were among the fastest-growing parts of the country, drawing people seeking to own affordable homes on sizable pieces of property. But after waves of foreclosures and soaring unemployment, more and more people are turning to renting. Renting keeps landlords afloat, but it also drives... More »

How Bush Fueled the Mortgage Mess

His philosophy at center of housing crisis

(Newser) - A range of factors led to the housing crisis that dragged the economy into the toilet—but President Bush’s philosophy likely played a key role in the collapse, reports the New York Times. Dozens of interviews point to both Bush’s drive to expand homeownership and his steadfast belief... More »

Cities Fight Urban Blight With Free College Tuition

'Promise Communities' are tried across the country

(Newser) - Cities on the decline across the country are testing a new strategy to stem urban decline: Families who buy homes in town get their kids college tuition paid in full. These "promise communities"—about 80 in all—seek to attract new residents and keep upwardly-mobile city dwellers from... More »

Mortgage Crisis? Blame George Bailey

It's A Wonderful Life hero helped poor buy unaffordable homes

(Newser) - The housing bubble that triggered the current economic crisis began with a post-Depression attitude toward owning a home presented in the classic Christmas flick It’s a Wonderful Life, writes Ross Douthat in the Washington Post. Hero banker George Bailey’s chief goal was to loan the poor enough money... More »

What's So Great About Home Ownership?

US policy is stacked against renters— for no good reason

(Newser) - “Owning a home lies at the heart of the American Dream,” George W. Bush once said, and US policy certainly seems to agree with him. Mortgage interest is tax deductible, and government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae provide cheap financing for home buyers. Why is that, asks Paul... More »

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