Real Estate in Brief: Fewer cost-burdened households, millennials delay homeownership and more


The number of households in the U.S. considered cost-burdened last year had slightly fallen, according to a JCHS analysis. The study reviewed data from the 2017 American Community Survey, finding that between 2016 and 2017 the percentage of cost-burdened households (households paying over 30 percent of total household income for housing), dropped from 32.0 percent to 31.5 percent. Households facing harsher housing cost burdens, paying over 50 percent of their total income towards housing, also saw a dip from 15.6 percent to 15.2 percent.

Homeowners and renters experienced cost burdens, with the boost in household incomes appearing to be the driving force of the decline. For renters, the number of cost-burdened households dropped from 47.5 percent to 47.4 percent from 2016 to 2017, with the number of acutely cost-burdened households falling from 25.2 percent to 24.9 percent.  

Meanwhile, homeowners saw a cost burden decline to 22.5 percent in 2017 from 23 percent in 2016. Severely cost-burdened homeowners saw a downturn from 10 percent to 9.7 percent. 

Despite the recent findings, the number of cost-burdened households remains larger than the share recorded in 2001.  

In other real estate news: 

  • Millennials have lower homeownership rates than baby boomers and Gen X, according to a study observing a Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) survey. While most homeowners from previous generations bought their first homes before the age of 35, and experienced increased wealth, millennials are delaying home purchases further beyond that point, the study found.  
  • Since 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act has been influential in increasing credit and capital for low- to moderate-income communities and preventing the banking practice of “redlining” communities deemed hazardous. However, recently the Trump Administration has proposed revising the Act, potentially reducing lending, services, and investment in low-income communities. In a New York Times op-ed, Jesse Van Dol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, wrote that the administration’s proposed changes could instead weaken the CRA, rather than strengthen it as he says is urgently needed.
  • Virtual reality technology is becoming the real estate industry’s newest tool. More than 14 percent of consumers responded that they have used augmented or virtual reality during their search for a house, according to new research by virtual home staging startup Rooomy. “The survey indicates that people are becoming increasingly more comfortable with using technology in regard to the home renting/buying process,” said Rooomy in a comment.

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