Seven years ago, the American homeownership "dream" was shattered when a housing bubble built on a decisively shaky foundation burst in spectacular fashion, bringing Wall Street and Main Street to their knees.
In the blink of an eye, the seemingly inexorable rise in the American homeownership rate abruptly reversed course, and by 2014, two decades of gains had disappeared and the ashes of Bill Clinton’s National Homeownership Strategy lay smoldering in the aftermath of the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression.
In short, decades of speculative excess driven by imprudence, greed, and financial engineering and financed by the world’s demand for GSE debt had come crashing down and in relatively short order, a nation of homeowners was transformed into a nation of renters.
It wasn’t difficult to predict what would happen next.
As demand for rentals increased and PE snapped up foreclosures, rents rose, just as a subpar jobs market, a meteoric rise in student debt, tougher lending standards, and critically important demographic shifts put further pressure on homeownership rates. Now, America faces a rather dire housing predicament: buying and renting are both unaffordable. Or, as WSJ put it last month, "households are stuck between homes they can’t qualify for and rents they can’t afford."
We’ve seen evidence of this across the country with perhaps the most telling statistic coming courtesy of The National Low Income Housing Coalition who recently noted that in no state can a minimum wage worker afford a one bedroom apartment.
In this context, Bloomberg is out with a list of 13 cities where single-family rents have risen by double-digits in just the last 12 months. Note that in Iowa, rents have risen more than 20% over the past year alone.
More color from Bloomberg:
Landlords have been preparing to raise rents on single-family homes this year, Bloomberg reported in April. It looks like those plans are already being put into action.
The median rent for a three-bedroom single-family house increased 3.3 percent, to $1,320, during the second quarter, according to data compiled by RentRange and provided to Bloomberg by franchiser Real Property Management. Median rents are up 6.1 percent over the past 12 months. Even that kind of increase would have been welcome in 13 U.S. cities where single-family rents increased by double digits.
It’s more evidence that rising rents have affected a broad scope of Americans. Sixty percent of low-income renters spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent, according to a report in May from New York University’s Furman Center. High rents have also stretched the budgets of middle-class workers and made it harder for young professionals to launch careers and start families.
"You’re finding that people who wouldn’t have shared accommodations in the past are moving in with friends,"says Don Lawby, president of Real Property Management. "Kids are staying in their parents’ homes for longer and delaying the formation of families."
And for those with short memories, we thought this would be an opportune time to remind you of who became America's landlord in the wake of the crisis...