7/05/2006

Why the Housing Boom Will Stay

Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies points out the main pillars of the housing market in its 2006 report, where downturns in the market will not outweigh the long term factors:

Several factors are at work.

Booming household growth. The nation will add 1.37 million new households this year. Part of this is natural population increase but this has also been bolstered by foreign migrants.

Graying boomers. As boomers have aged and prospered, they have begun to buy vacation or second homes in increasing numbers. This trend will widen as they near retirement.

Changing household composition. Social and cultural changes add to the number of households. There are more single-person households than in the past. Fewer adult children live with their parents; they establish their own homes. Increases in divorce rates result in the division of multi-person households into smaller ones. Family sizes have shrunk; a community may have about the same population but more households.

Minority gains. Ownership among formerly under-represented minorities has increased. Black and Latin home ownership has always trailed that of whites but the past 10 years has seen minorities making great progress.

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