Science & Tech

Study shows maintaining homeownership gains is key to strong economy

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“The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2002” says housing sector is poised to set new records

A June 2002 report by The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University documents the strong demographic foundation of current and projected future housing market activity. According to the report, the housing sector is poised to set new records for production, sales, and aggregate home equity in the years ahead, as strong growth in immigrant and minority households will result in an expected 22 million increase in the number of homeowners and a 1.6 million increase in renters over the next 20 years. Accounting for almost two-thirds of household growth, the report forecasts that minorities will constitute over half of all renters and a quarter of all owners by 2020. The growth in homeownership and consumer spending linked to accumulated home equity was an important reason why the recent economic recession was so mild, the report asserts. Despite the overall robust assessment of housing market conditions, the report documents how mortgage defaults and foreclosures are on the rise among recent lower-income purchasers, especially those families who accessed new forms of higher-cost subprime mortgages to acquire a first home.