Just about everybody thinks they’d be better off with more housing to buy than more apartments to rent, according to the State of the City poll.
By Kriston Capps
Few Americans today like their chances when it comes to renting an apartment. Chalk it up to the housing crisis or the credit crunch or the slow recovery. Blame it on the Google buses in the cities or rising poverty in the suburbs. Wherever you look, you’re bound to find frustrated renters.
Yet it also appears that hardly anyone wants to do the thing that might alleviate rental stress: build more apartments. While more apartment buildings might give renters a wider range of housing options to suit their immediate needs, Americans are largely holding out to buy homes, according to respondents in the Atlantic Media/Siemens State of the City poll.
Across the board, respondents said they find it difficult to rent an apartment where they live. By nearly every category—race, class, gender, age, region, education, and location—half or more of respondents answered that it was somewhat or very difficult to “find rental housing where you live that is affordable and of good quality.”
The share of new single-familyhome sales purchased with cash rose during the second quarter of 2014, reaching 8.4% of sales.
The onset of the housing crisis in 2007 led to a decline in the share of new home sales due to conventional mortgage financing and increases in the shares due to mortgages backed by the FHA and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), as well as cash purchases.
The second quarter data from the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Sales by Price and Financing indicates that count of cash-based new home sales rose to 10,000 for the quarter, matching a cycle high. During the 2002-2003 period, cash sales made up only 4% of purchases. In contrast, cash purchases constitute a considerably larger share of the existing home market – 32% of sales in June 2014 for example.
It feels like back to the future in bonds. A brand-new investment product will launch next week that is born of the housing and mortgage crashes but based on the same strategy that caused at least some of the crisis.
Blackstone, the largest investor in single-family rental homes, is introducing a new security backed by those homes. The as-yet unnamed bond will provide investors with not only an income stream from rental properties but also a potential return if they are sold. Much like a mortgage-backed security (MBS), it is a rental-backed security.
JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse will market about $500 million of the securities, said sources close to the matter. At least one of the tranches will be triple-A rated, according to sources, although ratings firms said to be involved would not comment.
The current housing recovery may be like manna to homeowners, but it may do little to ease a growing shortage of affordable residences, and could even make it worse. After a recession-generated drought, household formation is on the rise, notes a recent study by the Harvard Joint Center on Housing Studies, and in many markets there isn’t an adequate supply of housing for the working and middle classes.
Given problems with regulations in some states, particularly restrictions on new single-family home development, the uptick in housing prices threatens both prospective owners and renters, forcing people who would otherwise buy into the rental market. Ownership levels continue to drop, most notably for minorities, particularly African Americans. Last year, according to the Harvard study, the number of renters in the U.S. rose by a million, accompanied by a net loss of 161,000 homeowners.
This is bad news not only for middle-income Americans but even more so for the poor and renters. The number of renters now paying upward of 50% of their income for housing has risen by 2.5 million since the recession and 6.7 million over the decade. Roughly one in four renters, notes Harvard, are now in this perilous situation. The number of poor renters is growing, but the supply of new affordable housing has dropped over the past year.
Capital Economics expects the housing crisis to end this year, according to a report released Tuesday. One of the reasons: loosening credit.
The analytics firm notes the average credit score required to attain a mortgage loan is 700. While this is higher than scores required prior to the crisis, it is constant with requirements one year ago.
Additionally, a Fed Senior Loan Officer Survey found credit requirements in the fourth quarter were consistent with the past three quarters.
However, other market indicators point not just to a stabilization of mortgage lending standards, but also a loosening of credit availability.
Banks are now lending amounts up to 3.5 times borrower earnings. This is up from a low during the crisis of 3.2 times borrower earnings.
Banks are also loosening loan-to-value ratios (LTV), which Capital Economics denotes “the clearest sign yet of an improvement in mortgage credit conditions.”
In contrast to a low of 74 percent reached in mid-2010, banks are now lending at 82 percent LTV.
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–The New House by RSI, a new Southern California home builder has sold out of their 103-house inaugural project in less than 9 months, bucking the housing trend and establishing the company as a force in a new real estate world.
“the houses are built with such precision and efficiency that there are rarely defects.”
The company is led by Ronald M. Simon, Founding Chairman of RSI Home Products, one of the nation’s largest, and the lowest cost manufacturer of kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, cultured marble counter tops, medicine cabinets, and home organization cabinets. Simon conducted four years of R&D and allocated $100 million to drastically lower the cost of building new homes.