Home Ownership Gap is Decreasing

This recent article from RIS Media editor Suzanne De Vita, is timely, given the discussion in Atlanta about affordable housing intown.

Individuals with low incomes have historically struggled to become homeowners, cut off from the opportunity to not only build wealth through equity, but also establish an appreciating, long-term asset. New research now shows the homeownership rate in the lowest income tier is catching up to that of high-earners, edging closer since the onset of the recovery.

According to a study by Trulia, the homeownership rate of high-income households is 2.3 times the rate of low-income households: 77 percent versus 34.9 percent. The disparity, however, has thinned since 2012, when the homeownership rate of high-income households was 2.4 times higher than that of low-income households. The trend largely follows past housing cycles, with the gap narrowing during upswings and widening during downturns.

The study demonstrates the margin is more pronounced in major metropolitan areas, where the homeownership rate of high-income households is 79.3 percent, compared to the homeownership rate of low-income households at 27.9 percent—a 2.8 times difference. Some cities have a 4.4 times variance. The starkest inequalities tend to be where—among several indicators—households change homes more often and incomes are most disproportionate, such as Los Angeles, New Haven, Conn., and New York.

There is also a link between home values and the rate gap, the study illustrates, with the former closing as values become more evenly dispersed throughout a metro area (i.e., low-income households have a better chance of buying a home within their means when there is a higher variation in values).

Many other factors play a part in housing inequality, including the average age of a city’s population and homeownership tenure—and, as such, low-income households have improved homeownership rates depending on location, the study shows. Low-income households are more likely to own, for instance, in Daytona Beach, Fla., Long Island, N.Y., and Troy, Mich., where the homeownership rate of high-income households is just 2 times that of low-income households.

While little can be done about the demographic-based causes of the rate gap (e.g., age of population), study author Felipe Chacón, housing economist for Trulia, notes the potential for policy implementations to address the other issues driving inequality:

While demographic factors in some metros, such as a younger than average population, may be fueling unequal housing outcomes, along with a national trend that has been pointing to a gradually widening gap, there still seems to be plenty of opportunity for changes to local housing policy that could move the needle in a favorable wave for low-income groups.

For more information, please visit www.trulia.com.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

posted: Aug 14, 2017 | No Responses

Posted by:  Melissa Wakamo

When Melissa Wakamo began her real estate career in 2004, her goal was to focus on her immediate area and get to know her neighbors. "I've had a lot of fun over the years helping my neighbors sell their homes and helping newcomers become a part of our community."

Melissa quickly became one of metro Atlanta's top producing agents and consistently performed in the top 1% of all Atlanta agents. By 2009, Melissa's real estate team had grown to include several agents and support staff, dedicated to providing exceptional service to buyers and sellers in Atlanta's intown neighborhoods.

In 2010, Melissa transitioned Red Robin REALTORS® into an independently owned boutique brokerage. Even in the tough real estate market during that time, Red Robin REALTORS® continued to outperform other small brokerages and was able to help buyers and sellers adapt to the rapid changes in the market.

In 2017, Melissa had the opportunity to merge the Red Robin REALTORS team with another like-minded boutique brokerage, Keller Knapp Realty. The two community-focused organizations bring together more than 100 agents, including 3 of the top 10 agents in metro Atlanta. With offices in Oakhurst, Ormewood Park and Midtown, Keller Knapp Realty and Red Robin REALTORS team are the top boutique real estate firm in Atlanta.

In her role as Managing Broker, Melissa provides agent training, marketing and strategic oversight for the Brokerage, ensuring that the brokerage maintains its focus and commitment to the intown market.

Melissa's active participation in various neighborhood organizations and charitable efforts, as well as her passion for antiques, cooking, and gardening, keep her busy and in touch with the community.

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