This week Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies released their State of the Nation’s Housing 2016 report which says the U.S. housing market has “now regained enough momentum to provide an engine of growth” for the economy. The report suggests that as the lingering effects of the housing crash fade, homeownership will regain some lost ground, but to what degree remains open for debate. The State of the Nation’s Housing has been published annually since 1988 by the JCHS and provides a current assessment of the state of the rental and homeownership markets; the economic and demographic trends driving housing demand; the state of mortgage finance; and ongoing housing affordability challenges.
Robust rental demand continues to drive the housing expansion, and sales, prices, and new construction of single-family homes are on the rise. Even more important, income growth has picked up, particularly among the huge millennial population that is poised to form millions of new households over the coming decade. At the same time, however, several obstacles continue to hamper the housing recovery—in particular, the lingering pressures on homeownership, the eroding affordability of rental housing, and the growing concentration of poverty.