Tag Archives: home ownership

Home Ownership Down

January 31, 2011

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Home ownership rates continue to plummet. According to CNBC, Americans just aren’t buying homes so much.

America’s home ownership rate, after holding steady for a while, took a pretty big plunge in Q4, from 66.9 percent to 66.5 percent. That’s down from the 2004 peak of 69.2 percent and the lowest level since 1998.

Homeownership is falling at an alarming pace, despite the fact that home prices have fallen, affordability is much improved and inventories of new and existing homes are still running quite high.

Bargains abound, but few are interested or eligible to take advantage.

What’s even more shocking is that 11% of U.S. homes sit empty.

There were 18.4 million vacant homes in the U.S. in Q4 ’10 (11 percent of all housing units vacant all year round), which is actually an improvement of 427,000 from a year ago, but not for the reasons you’d think.

The number of vacant homes for rent fell by 493 thousand, as rental demand rose. 471,000 homes are listed as “Held off Market” about half for temporary use, but the other half are likely foreclosures. And no, the shadow inventory isn’t just 200,000, it’s far higher than that.

Not sure why, but I can guess. For one, Americans are uneasy about the economy. The government is spending like a MANIAC, China is rising almost as fast as our debt and interest rates… and who is earning enough to pay back those loans?

One of our Upstate cities was listed by Zillow.com as the Number One city in America to buy an affordable home. Everyone up here was practically waving flags: We’re Number One! We’re Number One!

But…. we have the “most affordable” homes in the nation– you mean the lowest priced? Isn’t that, like, bad?! And what good is it getting a cheap home for $25,000 in a city that is near bankruptcy and where property taxes are $7,000 a year?! How can that be a cause for celebration?

Economists and politicians alike go on and on, saying that the home construction and home ownership industry is the backbone of the American economy. So why are the banks and politicians selling Americans so short that we cannot afford the homes?

I don’t like this transition into a society that rents their homes. Property ownership is the backbone of the United States, property ownership gives citizens a vested interest in their community. Whatever happened to Life, LIberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

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Buying Better Than Renting

July 24, 2010


Well, this makes me feel better.

Courtesy of New York Times

Sometimes I could kick myself for buying a 155 year old home. Especially when I have to try and install square sheets of drywall on VERY unsquare ceilings and walls. NOT fun.

The New York Times has a cost calculator at nytimes.com/interactive/business/buy-rent-calculator.html, comparing rental pros and cons with ownership pros and cons. Looks like buying a home gets you ahead in the finances than renting.

But not by much. :-p

Part of the reason for the less than stellar return rate, I think, is the severe drop in housing values and the severe rise in property taxes. I purchased my home for $62,5 over 13 years ago. It is now valued at $87,0 for taxation purposes, but I could never get that amount should I sell it right now. The market is bad, and no one wants a fixer upper. I do renovate it with the expectation that the market will improve, but I renovate mostly because the house needs the improvements, and we want to live comfortably and efficiently. Still, even though I have no intention of selling, it would be nice to know that my home is increasing in value as I improve it….

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Woman’s Home Threatened Over 1 Cent Water Bill

November 20, 2008


UNBELIEVABLE!!! First, the story:

A 74-year-old blind woman was shocked when her daughter found a letter from the city saying a lien would be placed on her home unless she paid an overdue water bill.

The amount? 1 cent.

…The letter warned of a lien and a $48 penalty if the overdue bill is not paid by December 10. The charge was from the previous fiscal year, which ran from July 2007 to July 2008.

I’ve read this story at several news sites: CNN, Fox, Yahoo, etc. NOT ONCE was the point made that this woman was threatened with her home being taken away from her because she didn’t pay the full amount on her UTILITY BILL.

SINCE WHEN can a person’s home be taken from them because of an unpaid utility bill??? I don’t care if the amount is 1 cent or $1million dollars. This is outrageous, and I can’t believe this isn’t being screamed from the rooftops. A defaulted utility payment is warrant for the government to put a lien on a woman’s home?!?!? The woman has lived in her home since 1959. They were just itching to take her property away. Unconscionable!

And then the Attleboro government has the nerve to say that this issue was “blown out of proportion.” What happened to your guts, Massachusetts? It wasn’t even 300 years ago that you stood up to show the rest of the world what you thought of tyrants who want to take your property and liberty away.

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