There’s no denying that the last eight years of housing has been tumultuous, at best. Under-regulation of the mortgage industry and sub-prime mortgage lending led to a recession that resulted in millions of people losing their homes and their livelihoods. The entire country has been recovering ever since.
The real estate industry is important. It affects many other industries like construction and retail. In fact, the housing industry amounts to 18% of our gross domestic product. So changes to the real estate industry affect everyone, from organizations to individuals.
Buying a home doesn’t just generate property taxes and helps stimulate the economy; owning a home is fundamental to the American dream. It is part of our DNA, and it’s part of the pursuit of happiness that our Declaration of Independence promised us.
It’s evident that the real estate industry needs to be preserved and that current and future homeowners need to be protected.
Right now, millennials are apprehensive to buy homes after witnessing the effects of the bubble bursting. And mortgage lenders have to abide by tighter lending restrictions, meaning fewer people are eligible for mortgages.
Renters aren’t benefiting from these trends either. Rental prices in big cities and other desirable locations are on the rise, and renters are either forced to pay often exorbitant amounts in rent or are being pushed out of the neighborhoods they live in.
It’s clear that something has to change.
The Future of Housing Policy
In order for us to continue the American Dream of buying houses and creating the homes that we envision, there needs to be policy change on the national level. And there need to be fewer barriers to entry into the market for first time homebuyers. We need more (or more publicized) incentives like tax breaks, down payment assistance programs, or anything that will make potential first time homebuyers feel like this is something they can do.
With the election nearing, the country is as polarized as ever. But we can all agree that housing is essential to our way of life and we must find a way to make home buying accessible to more people and to make sure that the lending process is fair and balanced. Housing should be a priority during the next administration, both for the health of our economy and to make sure that people have homes that they can afford.
Traditionally, owning a home has been considered a milestone, a source of pride, and often a mark of success. It’s an achievement that we want future generations to reach.
Sources: CNBC.com and TheHill.com