Home ownership has long been considered a staple of the American dream. During the pandemic, it has also become a dividing line between the haves and have-nots. As the coronavirus outbreak and rise of remote work pushed Americans to move from the city to the suburbs, those who could afford a single-family home have been able to leverage historically low interest rates to build equity and net worth. Many are doing just that. During 2020, the homeownership rate jumped to roughly 67%, up nearly 3% from a year earlier after remaining largely flat for a decade, according to the Census Bureau.
But high demand for housing — along with a record low supply of homes for sale — has also caused a sharp spike in home prices, shutting others out entirely. The pandemic-induced run on housing has fueled an affordability problem for many of those would-be buyers, despite mortgage rates near the lowest levels ever. Now, homes in many states require a salary larger than buyers' current median income.
Nationwide, the median home price is $346,800. Price appreciation is now outpacing wage appreciation in 90% of housing markets nationally, according to a separate report from Attom Data Solutions, a property database. The median prices of single-family homes and condos are less affordable than historical averages in 63% of U.S. counties, up from 54% a year ago, the report found, based on the income needed to make monthly mortgage, property tax and insurance payments on a median-priced home with a 20% down payment.
Faced with higher property prices and piles of student debt, Americans are getting older and older before they buy a home.
The median age of first-time home buyers has increased to 33, the oldest in records dating back to 1981, according to a National Association of Realtors report released Friday. The median age of all buyers also hit a fresh record, 47, increasing for a third straight year — and well above the median age of 31 in 1981. While the median age of first-time home buyers only rose by one year, the increase reflects a variety of factors facing Americans searching for a home. A nationwide shortage of affordable housing, coupled with lower mortgage rates, has stoked prices in cities from the coasts to the heartland. At the same time, student loans and other debts make it harder for Americans to save tens of thousands of dollars for a down payment, while tight lending standards can make getting a bank loan difficult for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit scores. "Housing affordability is so difficult today, especially when coupled with rising rents and student loan debt, that they're finding different ways to enter home ownership," said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at the Realtors group in Washington. The characteristics of home buyers have changed in recent years. The share of married couples has declined as unmarried couples and those purchasing as roommates has risen. As buyers' ages have increased, so have their incomes. The typical income of purchasers rose to $93,200 in 2018 as a lack of affordable options squeezed lower-income potential buyers out of the market. Higher prices of homes have also changed how first-time buyers are entering the market. Nearly a third of first-time home buyers said they used a gift from a relative or friend to fund their down payment.
There is much discussion regarding the Hispanic growth in Texas, but even more startling is the rapid growth of the Asian community, heavily concentrating in the Dallas and Houston suburbs. All-together, Asians had a 49 percent growth in Texas between 2010 and 2018, with an even faster acceleration in the past 2 years.
Asian (Green) Hispanic (Yellow) African American (Blue) White (Red)
The state of Texas is adding about nine Hispanic residents to its population for every one white resident, the United States Census Bureau states. The Texas Tribune published the latest Census Bureau data and projections which indicate that between 2010 and 2018 the Hispanic population in Texas has grown at nearly four times the rate of the white resident population and more than three times the rate of the black resident population. Today, the Texas Hispanic population stands at almost 11.4 million. This indicates that Texas adds nearly 215,000 Hispanic residents every year, while the black resident population grows by only 60,000 a year and the white resident population grows by about 54,000, on average, a year. Last year, alone, the white resident population of Texas grew by only about 24,000.
Hispanics, the Census data indicates, could become the largest population group in the state by as early as 2022, outpacing the 11.9 million white residents who currently live in Texas.