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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Declining homeownership is 'good' (though its not)

US News & World Report used to be a good weekly news magazine, on par with Time and Newsweek- informative, interesting, and told news in a straight-forward, concise narrative.

Now US News is.. hmm' how do I put it delicately..  caa caa

Over the last few weeks I've discovered many sensational headlines from US News where they try to justify a pretend economic recovery that isn't and try explaining how we're all better off than we were, though of course we're not.

Here's today's revisionism (article in blue font)...

Why Declining Homeownership Rates Might Not Be a Bad Thing

"In the first quarter of this year, homeownership rates fell to levels not seen since 1998... some experts say the decline might not be such a bad thing. The share of Americans who owned their homes dipped to 66.4 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau... "Falling back to the 66-percent level is probably a good thing," says Ken Shuman, head of communications at real estate information website Trulia. "Homeownership isn't the American dream for everyone. A lot of people bought homes who shouldn't have been able to buy homes.""

~  Ok.. Um exactly Who are these "experts" saying that declining homeownership rates is good?  A supposed 'head of communications' at a real estate info website?  This is who the author of this article quotes from his/her rolodex?  And who is He to determine whether people should or should not have bought a home?

And let's understand something clearly before we continue--  if homeownership levels decline due to freedom of choice where Americans feel it is not something for them, then that is one thing.  But when ownership declines due to an inability to find a job or make ends meet in this 28 month and counting recession, causing millions of Americans to involuntarily see their homes foreclosed upon, then Yes, declining homeownership rates Is a bad thing...

"Historically, homeownership levels have hovered between 63 and 66 percent since the 1950s, only recently spiking to nearly 70 percent as a result of the credit bubble... "

That sentence is a distortion.  Historically as the 1950s became the '60s then '70s, etc, homeownership became a reality for new demographics of people, among them black Americans and single women who saw greater opportunities for advancement in the workplace. Thus allowed for upward mobility and the economic means to acquire homes that previously would have been denied to them.  Thus historically, there's Always been a continual spike upwards in the percentage of homeownership and not to be credited or blamed singularly on the credit bubble.

"Lenders have reigned in credit standards, making it tougher to get financing for home purchases, but declining home prices and a chronically unstable job market may have a greater hand in keeping homeownership levels lower going forward.  "The single most significant driver in the housing market is consumer confidence," says Mitchell Hochberg, principal at New York City-based Madden Real Estate Ventures. "A lot of people are still afraid to make what is the biggest investment in their portfolio--a house--right now until they feel that both the economy and the housing market have stabilized. You have a lot of people who are sitting on the sidelines."

This contradicts the earlier premise that declining homeownership is a good thing.   How can something be 'good' when its caused by limited access to credit, fear of job loss or continual deteriorating house prices and economy as a whole?  How is the inability of people to buy a home and/or feel safe and secure in their purchase a Positive?

"The uptick in renters has put pressure on rental rates in many areas, and buying is now more affordable than renting in nearly four out of five major U.S. cities... That might not sound like good news for tenants, but higher rents often boost home purchases and accelerate a housing market recovery... Of the 130 million homes in America, about 10 percent remain vacant... That figure, coupled with foreclosures still trickling through the system, threatens to further inflate the supply of homes and push prices down further."

Do you see how completely asinine this article is?  Go back to the header-- "Why Declining Homeownership Rates May Not Be A Bad Thing". Remember that?  Now its taking the position that more people owning homes is a good thing... A total contradiction at the end of the article from its original premise.

~ This is the 'quality' of news you read and watch on TV daily.. empty, mindless double-talk and gobbletygook that can't even make coherent, consistent points without contradicting itself.

US News & World Report used to be good journalism.. now it is not.

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