According to a recent Census report, homeownership in America has plunged to its lowest level since 1940. The post-war housing boom lasted for over half a century as increased construction and liberal lending practices made homes affordable to a large majority of Americans. Subprime mortgages stretched that ease of availability to the breaking point. When the market collapsed, so did the ability of many Americans to own homes because of tighter lending practices and fears that the market still has much further to fall.
The pattern of homeownership will probably not change much in the years ahead. People in large cities have opportunities to rent not available in suburban and rural areas. Home prices are low in states where the number of people per square mile is low. There is little supply in these states, but their populations are not large enough to create excessive demand.
The American dream of homeownership may have peaked around 2000. Much of the U.S. population is still in a struggle with high debt and stagnant income. And job security may not return to pre-recession levels for a number of years. Even if the reasons to own a home return with rising prices, the ability to buy one may not. (iStock Photo) More From 24/7 Wall Street: The Eight Beers Americans No Longer Drink Nine American Cities Going Broke The Net Worth of the GOP Presidential Candidates The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.