The U.S. Housing Crisis

Homeownership shouldn’t be an elitist privilege for corporations and rich.

THE PROBLEM:

The cost to buy a home is a moving goal line that is outpacing most American’s income growth each year. Commercial investors, larger house sizes, lack of construction labor, government regulations and incentives, among other things, are all coming together to form a huge crisis for both those who rent and those who own! Greatly prohibiting homeownership for future Americans. 

Bernie Sanders said that “millions of families” are paying “40, 50, 60% of their limited incomes to put a roof over their heads.” 
Rated True by Politifact

WHAT THE DATA SAYS:

“An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing. – Hud.gov

“Due to decades of misguided and faulty policies, homelessness is a serious problem. Over half a million people go homeless on a single night in the United States.” –  WhiteHouse.gov

PROBLEMS LINKED TO THIS ISSUE:

Income Inequality

Mental Health

Violent Behavior

WHAT WE CAN ACHIEVE:

  • Reduced Income & Wealth Inequality
  • Increases Stability, Reducing Stress and Conflict
  • Increases Local Community Ownership & Investment Regarding Neighborhood Issues

Proposed Solutions:

BUILD SMALLER HOUSES:

Average House Sizes:
1973 – 1660 sqft ( https://www.census.gov/const/C25Ann/sftotalmedavgsqft.pdf )
2018 – 2435 sqft ( https://www.census.gov/construction/chars/highlights.html )

Houses have increased in size by 775+ sqft increase in housing size in 45 years. ( equivalent to a two-bedroom apartment! a one-bedroom apartment is 500 sqft. Imagine if we could return to 1970’s size houses, houses being nearly 32% smaller could definitely reduce housing cost in materials, labor hours, annual utilities, etc.

If we were willing to reduce new house construction to 1,000 square feet, enough to be a smaller 3 bedroom house we would decrease house size by nearly 59%.  This means the average house is big enough for two families with four children each having their own room!

Do we really need such large closets, rooms, houses, and such huge debt?

DECREASE CORPORATE OWNERSHIP OF HOMES (PROPERTY MANAGEMENT):

According to NMHC.org only 4 states have rent control or caps, which means that another 46 states have no cap, no control, and no regulation to enforce limitations to renewal rates. Meaning property owners can increase the rent as high as the market will allow them to rent the property for.  https://www.nmhc.org/research-insight/analysis-and-guidance/rent-control-laws-by-state/

What does this mean for everyone who doesn’t own a house?

The continued extraction of wealth and income from the tenant to the Landlord who owns the property, further compounding the issue and centralizing wealth to those already economically advantaged vs. their tenants. The Landlord is not required to make any improvements to the property, provide any additional value, or even justify the increase in cost even if the value of the property depreciates.

Many advocates are against rent regulation, I agree on this, rent cap regulations are part of the issue, similar to regulations where the federal government used subsidies to drive up home values to stimulate demand in the housing economy, transitioning ownership of properties from everyday citizens into the hands of wealthy investors and Wall Street. Meaning the well-intentioned solution to one crisis drove us directly into the next crisis, our current housing crisis.

What is the solution?

It is my belief that we need to partner with our local home builders and community planners to encourage them to sell homes to the people who will live in the home and not the middle man. This must be a grassroots effort without government regulation, working as a community to create opportunities for people to buy instead of rent from predatory property management companies.

PERSONAL IMPACT:

My wife and I live in an apartment which hasn’t seen any updates to any portions of the unit itself in the past 7 years and has seen rent increase from $450 to $720 per a month nearly 200%, 15% increase of $100 monthly this year alone. 

Which means we have paid over $40,000 USD$ into our apartment, and our property managers refuse to update any appliances, replace the carpet, and many faulty items, such as light fixtures, loose shower tiles, and defective faucet knobs.

Instead maintenance is instructed to do bare minimum repairs that often need a new ticket submitted on the same issue every 2-4 months on the same issues where the component is past it’s product life cycle.

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