The U.S. housing recovery is well underway--this is a conclusion of the State of the Nation's Housing report released in late-June 2013 by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.
The recovery is being driven by rising home prices and growing demand. The report said housing construction remains at historically low levels but has turned the corner, and this is giving the economy a much-needed boost.
At the same time, the Joint Center report notes that millions of homeowners are delinquent on their mortgages or owe more than their homes are worth, and said severe housing cost burdens have set a new record. The number of renter households grew by 1.1 million in 2012, making it the second consecutive year of double-digit percentage increases in multifamily construction.
As the rental market gets stronger, however, rates of homeownership continue to decrease.
"With rising home prices helping to revive household balance sheets and expanding residential construction adding to job growth, the housing sector is finally providing a much needed boost to the economy," says Belsky. "But long-term vacancies are at elevated levels in a number of places, millions of owners are still struggling to make their mortgage payments, and credit conditions for homebuyers remain extremely tight. It will take time for these problems to subside. Given the profoundly positive impact that decent and affordable housing can have on the lives of individuals, families, and entire communities, efforts to address these urgent concerns as well as longstanding housing affordability challenges should be among the nation's highest priorities."
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