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The homeownership rate has been on the decline ever since the peak of the housing bubble a decade ago.
Now it’s making a comeback, of sorts.
Overall American homeownership stood at 63.6% in the first quarter, the Census Department said Thursday. That’s down a tick from 63.7% in the fourth quarter, but up from a year ago, which is economists’ preferred way to gauge the data.
The home ownership rate stood at 63.6% in the first quarter.
And the details of the report were better than the headline.
The number of owner-occupied households rose more quickly than renter households for the first time since 2006, Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin wrote in a note after the release. The number of new owner households was up 850,000, compared to a 365,000 increase in the number of renter households.
‘This is very optimistic news for those of us who are interested in the homeownership rate,” McLaughlin told MarketWatch. “It’s the first sign we may be pivoting away from renting and back toward ownership.”
One quarter doesn’t make a trend, McLaughlin cautioned, but the magnitude of the spread between the two types of households was striking — and came as a result of strong increases in owner-occupied households and a decline in those occupied by renters, he said.
Another good sign: household formation rose 1% compared to a year ago during the first quarter.
Another positive detail: homeownership rates among minorities notched strong gains. Ownership among African-Americans rose a full percentage point for the quarter and 1.2 percentage points compared to the first quarter of 2016. It was the first time the black homeownership rate had topped 42% since late 2015, Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell wrote on Thursday.
Among Hispanics, ownership also jumped, rising 1.3 percentage point over the year to 46.6%.
Those increases are welcome, but both stand well below the 71.8% enjoyed by whites.
“A more balanced housing landscape between owners and renters is largely positive,” Gudell wrote. “The market is finding a natural equilibrium, and that will take some time, even several years after the worst of the recession.”
McLaughlin agrees. The near-70% high that the ownership rate touched during the bubble was artificially inflated and unhealthy, while current levels are likely too low. The right level is “somewhere between where we’re at now and where we were 10 years ago,” he said.
Reese Miller searched for a home in metro Phoenix for almost two years before finding one he wanted and could afford.
Last year, the 42-year-old North Dakota native was able to close on his $125,000 west Phoenix home with a few thousand dollars from Home in Five Advantage, a popular Valley down-payment-assistance program.
Miller is one of 14,000 Phoenix-area homeowners who have received as much as 4 percent of the cost of their house from the program that was recently expanded.
Five years ago, the Phoenix and Maricopa industrial development authorities teamed up to create a fund to help mostly first-time homebuyers get 30-year government-backed mortgages with up to 3 percent in grants for down payments and closing costs.
Those two costs keep many people renting when they dream of buying.
Including Miller. I have talked to several homebuyers who got help from Home in Five since it was launched. All have been excited about owning their own home and have spread the word about the program.
Home in Five is for buyers making less than $89,000 a year and buying houses priced below $300,000. Recently, the program upped down payment aid to homebuyers earning less than $31,450 to $5,000.
“An additional 1 percent down payment assistance will help lower-income families overcome a major barrier to homeownership and achieve the financial stability that comes with it,” said Phoenix IDA Executive Director Juan Salgado.
Home in Five isn’t a taxpayer-backed program. The development authorities sell bonds to investors and lenders to provide the aid to homeowners.
Investors wouldn’t keep buying bonds to expand the program if it wasn’t working. Less than half a percent of Home in Five borrowers have lost their houses to foreclosure. An 8-hour homeownership class is required to get the funds.
And I checked. The half dozen Home in Five borrowers I have talked to all still own their home, and their values have climbed nicely.
Part of the motive in creating Home in Five was to spur homebuying in Valley neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures during the crash. Another Arizona housing program helps buyers purchase specifically in those areas.
The Arizona Housing Dept.’s Pathway to Purchase programs helps buyers with a 10 percent down payment, if they purchase in 17 areas across the state hit hardest by the crash.
In the Valley, someone can buy in Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Goodyear or the city of Maricopa to qualify. The program was launched a year ago, and already more than 3,200 buyers have received an average of $16,200 in downpayment help through it.
Many of the buyers in these programs could probably stretch to buy on their own, but it would leave them with less savings and money to put into their houses
“Without the down payment assistance, I would have tapped out my savings,” said Miller, who works as a maintenance supervisor at Mountainside Fitness in Peoria. “I would have never had the money to do all the extras. Since moving in, I painted the interior from floor to ceiling, replaced all the light fixtures and bought appliances."
He pays about $130 more on the mortgage for his two-bedroom, two-bathroom house than he did to rent a small one-bedroom apartment.
The home Miller purchased was taken back by a lender early during the crash in 2009. Like many Valley foreclosure houses then, it likely sat vacant and run down for a while.
His neighbors must be thrilled to have an owner who is putting money back into his house and helping boost their values.I know I was when the foreclosure home across the street from me was purchased and fixed up.
Please contact us to learn more how you can buy a home using this type of financing at 480 684 0800 today!
CASA GRANDE, AZ - Will Arizona finally play host to a major amusement park?
Another proposal and concept has made its way to the drawing board.
Developers with The Blocks Sports Company, a Florida-based company, have filed a proposal with the City of Casa Grande to bring a 1,500-acre "world class entertainment" amusement park and resort to the area, even comparing the scope of its plans to that of Disney World in Orlando.
The park -- referred to as "Dreamport Villages" -- would be located in Casa Grande near Interstate 10 and Interstate 8, according to the proposal. The project would take seven to 10 years to complete, and could cost as much as $4 billion.
We read the report and here are the attractions the project could bring to Arizona:
The project itself is in its very early stages. It will go before the Casa Grande Planning and Zoning Commission on March 2 to consider rezoning property related to the project. If approved, that motion will go before the City Council, said Kayla Fulmer, public information officer for the City of Casa Grande.
From there, the developer could close on the property and begin developing a Major Site Plan.
The public will be able to provide input on the proposed project at the March 2 meeting, said Fullmer.
In the last 10 years, Arizona has seen its share of proposals from developers with plans to build amusement parks in Arizona. Decades Music Theme Park was proposed in Eloy and Coyote Canyon was a theme park proposed in Florence.
Both were never built. The question now is whether or not this recent proposal will amount to anything more than words and designs on paper.
"We believe we are at the same point today in Casa Grande as was Orlando 50 years ago when Walt Disney first envisioned Disney World. The key difference is Orlando was not one hour away from two separate major metro areas along an interstate freeway," the developers wrote in the conclusion of their proposal.
"The Block Sports Company can’t accomplish all of this by itself. With the right partners from other business and government leaders, we can be help continue to lay the foundation of what could transform the region into a major destination for both business and tourists..."
You can view the Planned Area Development proposals for Dreamport Villages below: