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Harvard's Annual State of Housing Report


"According to the State of the Nation’s Housing report — published annually by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies — demographic forces will be a key determiner in the U.S. housing market future.

Essential findings of the report include:

  • Mounting student loan debt is delaying homeownership for young Americans. Student loan debt has accounted for 63% of the growth in total debt over the past year. Student loan balances increased by $114 billion in 2013 alone.

  • Approximately 2.1 million more adults in their 20s lived with their parents last year when compared to 2012. However, because of the sheer volume of young adults coming of age, the number of households in their 30s should increase by 2.7 million over the coming decade, which will boost demand for new housing.

  • Over the next 10 years, millennials will form 24 million new households, while baby boomers will shed 3 million households and pre-boomer households will drop by 10 million households.

  • From 2015 to 2025, demographic forces alone will drive household growth of 11.6 million to 13.2 million. And the number of households aged 70 and older will increase by approximately 8.3 million and account for more than two-thirds of household growth.

  • The report also indicated that incomes are not keeping pace with the rising cost of housing. From 2002 to 2012, the real median income for households aged 25–34 fell 11%, leaving their real incomes below those of same-aged households in 1972.

  • Since 2002, the real median annual incomes among households in their 50s — the peak earning years for this group as they look to retire over the coming decade — have fallen by $9,100 among 50-54 year olds and by $5,700 among 55–59 year olds."

The State of the Nation’s Housing report has been released annually since 1988. This year’s report 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.

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