Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Home sellers cash in amid housing crisis!

Home buyers are shut out while sellers rake in big bucks 

Price gouging accused for unaffordbility of single family homes as greedy owners take advantage of those seeking to buy amid housing shortage.  Panicked home buyers pay thousands above asking price for questionable purchases risking a new housing bubble.  

Caps on home prices are being considered by legislature to curb rising housing costs.  Potential buyers protest excess profit being taken by sellers that excludes them from the market and is forcing them to move to outlying cities or continue living in undesirable housing.  

Homeowners cry foul about limits to profits while thousands of people with little money for down payments are shut out of the market. State and local governments seek emergency legislation as solution to housing instability and social and economic justice crisis.*

U.S. home prices rising 2 times faster than wages

Josh Boak, Associated Press9:08 a.m. ET May 30, 2017    
Washington — U.S. home prices climbed in March at the strongest rate in nearly three year as a dwindling supply of houses for sale is causing prices to significantly outpace income growth.
The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday rose 5.9 percent over the past 12 months ended in March, the most since July 2014. Home values are increasing at more than double the pace of average hourly earnings, making it more difficult for many people to afford to buy a home.
“Over the last year, analysts suggested that one factor pushing prices higher was the unusually low inventory of homes for sale,” said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “People are staying in their homes longer rather than selling and trading up.
A steady job market has bulked up demand among many would-be buyers, but there are fewer properties on the market. Sales listings have plummeted 9 percent over the past year to 1.93 million, according to the National Association of Realtors. The shortage of homes to buy has caused prices to rise sharply in many metro areas.
The largest annual gain was in Seattle, where prices have surged 12.3 percent. Portland, Oregon recorded a 9.2 percent increase, while Dallas prices rose 8.6 percent.
Of the 20 cities in the index, the weakest gain was in New York City—an area where home prices are already high relative to median incomes. Home prices in New York City have risen 4.1 percent in the past year, still much higher than U.S. average hourly earnings that have increased 2.5 percent over the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
*  The text above asks the reader to make comparisons to current housing-related issues that are being considered by state and local governments.  (HINT:  If you are still confused, replace 'homeowner" with "landlord" and "buyer" with "renter."  All sales including rents are legal transactions and require equal treatment and protection.)  

The new "normal" for housing nationwide is changing from one where 30% of gross income is spent on housing needs to over 50% and competes with medical, food, energy, water and other necessities.  Society must ask the questions - what is a necessity, and what is governments role in providing it - or forcing others to provide it at their expense?  

For most commodities there is an easy solution - allow the free market to supply what the customer demands at a price they will pay.  Regarding housing, when population or in-migragion decreases, or housing units (houses or rentals) increase, prices will stabilize.  Like everything else, the days of "cheap" housing are in the past.  

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