housing affordability

U.S. News & World Report Ranks Chicago Metro Area 83rd ‘Best Place To Live’

From a U.S. News & World Report press release on February 7:

U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in rankings and consumer advice, today unveiled the 2017 Best Places to Live in the United States. The new list ranks the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas based on affordability, job prospects and quality of life…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Predictably, the Chicago metro area made the list.

Somewhat surprising is how far down it was:

Chicago, IL
#83 in Best Places to Live
6.1 Overall Score
5.9 Quality of Life
6.1 Value

Scores are out of a possible 10.

Nearby metropolitan areas that ranked higher than the “Second City” included:

#18 Madison, Wisconsin
#19 Grand Rapids, Michigan
#47 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
#55 Indianapolis, Indianapolis

According to the press release:

The 2017 Best Places to Live were determined in part by a public survey of thousands of individuals across the U.S. to find out what qualities they consider important in a home town. The methodology also factors in data from the United States Census Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as U.S. News rankings of the Best High Schools and Best Hospitals…

You can see the full rankings list here on the U.S. News website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 Employment, Housing Comments Off on U.S. News & World Report Ranks Chicago Metro Area 83rd ‘Best Place To Live’

Report: Housing Affordability Gets Worse For Many Americans

Just getting around to last Sunday’s paper today, I read that the president-elect of the National Association of Realtors, Maurice “Moe” Veissi, will be coming to the Windy City this weekend as part of some homeownership campaign. The Chicago Tribune’s Mary Ellen Podmolik wrote about it in the Sunday edition of the paper, and Veissi told her:

Real estate is not a short-term investment. It’s not the crap tables, it’s not stocks and equities. I think the consumer is still sensitive to the importance of homeownership in America. They may be thinking this is a better time to rent than to buy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Anyone expecting a president-elect of the Realtors to say something different?

But let’s examine “the truth.” Veissi claims now is a better time to buy a home than to rent.

Sounds like a rephrasing the oft-heard real estate agent battle cry of “Why rent when you can buy?”

The Wall Street Journal’s Simon Constable wrote this weekend about how some housing experts see the market bottoming in 2011. Addressing the topic of housing affordability, he said:

Housing is the most affordable it has been in decades, according to analysts at Moody’s Analytics. They don’t just look at house prices. They also look at incomes.

Nationally, the cost of a house is the equivalent of about 19 months of total pay for an average family, the lowest level in 35 years. Prices usually average close to two years’ pay, although that varies nationally…

In the end, it will be affordability that will drive people to buy homes.

But, according to the Center for Housing Policy, the research affiliate of the National Housing Conference (NHC), it’s affordability that a big problem for many Americans. More so than most probably think. MarketWatch real estate writer Amy Hoak wrote last Friday:

Despite falling home prices in recent years, housing affordability has dropped for many Americans, according to a report from the Center for Housing Policy this week.

The report found that nearly one in four working households spent more than half its income on housing costs in 2009. About 10.5 million working households experienced this severe housing-cost burden, an increase of about 600,000 compared with the previous year — even as the number of working households in the country dropped by 1.1 million, according to the report.

“These findings will be surprising to many who have followed the nationwide decline in home prices,” said Jeffrey Lubell, executive director of the Center for Housing Policy, in a news release.

“Housing costs for existing homeowners have declined only slightly, while housing costs for working renters have actually gone up. Meanwhile, high unemployment and falling incomes have left low- and moderate-income families struggling to make ends meet,” he said.

An increase in rents, a reduction in the number of hours worked per week and falling incomes are some of the factors contributing to the decline in affordability, according to the report.

Certainly, the drop in home prices means good deals for some Americans who are able and willing to buy a house today. But for many others, economic conditions are only making it more difficult to keep a roof over their heads.

(Editor’s note: Italics added by Editor for emphasis)

Sounds like a precarious position to be in to go shopping around for a house.

So, is Veissi wrong in claiming that now is a better time to buy a home than to rent?

Not necessarily. Just like real estate agents like to say that “all real estate is local,” so too the decision to buy or rent depends very much on one’s particular circumstances.

You can read the Center for Housing Policy’s report “An Annual Look at the Housing Affordability Challenges of America’s Working Households” on the NHC website here.

Sources:

Podmolik, Mary Ellen. “Realtors to roll out homeownership campaign.” Chicago Tribune. 25 Feb. 2011. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/ct-mre-0227-home-front-20110225,0,5654459.column). 2 Mar. 2011.

Constable, Simon. “Why 2011 May Be the End of the Housing Crash.” Wall Street Journal. 27 Feb. 2011. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703796504576168822497423738.html?mod=googlenews_wsj). 2 Mar. 2011.

Hoak, Amy. “This week’s Real Estate stories.” MarketWatch. 25 Feb. 2011. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/housing-affordability-drops-for-working-households-2011-02-25). 2 Mar. 2011.

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Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 Housing Comments Off on Report: Housing Affordability Gets Worse For Many Americans
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