The Housing Market’s Mystery of the Missing Buyers

New York Times: “Except in a few booming markets, housing is nowhere close to pulling its economic weight.”

“Investment in residential property remains a smaller share of the overall economy than at any time since World War II, contributing less to growth than it did even in previous steep downturns.”

“Given demographic trends, there should be plenty of housing demand. Immigration has slowed in recent years, but the nation’s population has still grown by about 20 million since the housing downturn began in 2006. Yet those additional people are translating into fewer new households than historical patterns would predict.”

“This is a problem for the whole economy, and at its core is the mystery of the missing buyers.”

“To a large degree, they can be explained by young people choosing — or being forced by circumstance — to remain at home longer than they have in previous generations.”

David Crowe, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders: “The younger generations do not seem to have a significant lower preference for homeownership … They just can’t do it now. They stayed home because they couldn’t get a job or couldn’t get a good enough job to live independently.”

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