Demographic Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Housing Markets

By Dowell Myers, Rolf Pendall

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

This paper summarizes six key demographic trends against the backdrop of the U.S. housing crisis, which has thrown markets into disarray and disrupted long-term trends in demography and housing demand.

In 2010, young adults lived in their parents’ homes, doubled up with other families or stayed with roommates at rates far higher than in 2000. All working-age adults, even those between 45 and 65 years old, reduced their rates of homeownership; blacks and Hispanics saw especially acute declines in homeownership during the housing bust. The crisis has also reduced incomes and increased poverty rates to their highest level in two decades, reducing many families’ ability to pay for housing. Home vacancies stand well above year-2000 levels; at year-2000 vacancy rates, 2.7 million fewer units would now be vacant. In addition, about 10 percent of residential mortgages are either in foreclosure or at least 90 days delinquent.

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