– US Middle Class Stays Dead: Homeownership Drops To 48 Year Low; Median Asking Rent Soars To All Time High (ZeroHedge, July 28, 2015):
Three months ago, just as the last Census Homeownership and residential vacancy report hit, Gallup released its latest survey which confirmed just how dead the American Dream has become for tens if not hundreds of millions of Americans.
According to the poll, the number of Americans who did not currently own a home and say they do not think they will buy a home in “the foreseeable future,” had risen by one third to 41%, vs. “only” 31% two years ago. Non-homeowners’ expectations of buying a house in the next year or five years were unchanged, suggesting little change in the short-term housing market.
As Gallup wryly puts it, “what may have been a longer-term goal for many may now not be a goal at all, and this could have an effect on the longer-term housing market.”
Earlier today, the US Census released its latest homeownership data, which confirmed that for what is left of America’s middle class, owning a home has become virtually impossible, with the homeownership rate plunging from the lowest level since 1986, or 63.7%, to just 63.4% the lowest reading since the first quarter of 1967.
Three months ago, when compiling this data we said that “at this rate, by the end of the 2015 and certainly by the end of Obama’s second term, the US homeownership rate will drop to the lowest in modern US history.” That moment, as shown on the chart below, came far sooner than ever we had expected. The only question is whether the lowest homeownership print on record reported in 1965 and standing at 62.9% will be taken out in the next 2 quarters or in early 2016.
There is no surprise why this is happening. As Bloomberg notes, the biggest culprit is wage growth which “hasn’t kept up with surging home prices. The average household income in June was 4 percent below a record high set in early 2008, even as unemployment dropped to its pre-recession rate, according to Sentier Research LLC.”
“We’re still suffering the effects of the housing collapse and the financial crisis,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina. “We may have another percentage point to go before we see a bottom” in the homeownership rate, he said.Yes, it is safe assume that the imminent lowest homeownership print in US history may be the “bottom.”Still, the ongoing death of the middle class is not bad news to everyone: landlords, of which private equity firm Blackstone recently became the biggest in the US, are reaping unseen profits courtesy of runaway inflation in at least one item: rent.Because as homeownership falls, demand for rental housing is booming. The vacancy rate for rented homes in the U.S. fell to 6.8% in the first quarter from 7.5% a year earlier. It was the lowest first-quarter rate since 1986.And the punchline, which should come as no surprise to anyone: the median monthly asking rent just rose to a record $803 across the US.
Words, however do not do the relentless increase in rent justice, so here is something far better. Charts.
The same, only broken down by region.
And as we showed just two days ago, these are the cities where rents have increased by at least 10% in the past year:
Our condolences dear former members of what was once the world’s most vibrant middle class and is anything but any more. Our only advice, the same as last quarter: BTFATH as you turn off the light, and pray that central banks never lose control of this so-called “market” or else having any roof above your head will promptly become an unaffordable luxury…. As many Chinese investors just found out the hard way.