San Antonio, Texas – The Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission and the Jack Kemp Foundation today kicked off the first of four public forums to gather input on key housing issues facing the nation. The aim of these forums is to develop innovative yet realistic recommendations to improve the nation’s housing policies today and for the future.
Today’s forum, held in San Antonio, featured former Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary (HUD) and BPC Housing co-chair Henry Cisneros and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. The forum also brought together regional housing experts and local residents to discuss the real-world effects of the stagnant economy and foreclosures on the housing market and the implications going forward.
“By combining expert analyses and the personal experiences of residents most affected by the housing crisis, we begin to see what is really happening on the ground in communities across America,” Secretary Cisneros said. “Now we can start working toward some solutions. This is only the beginning. We need to continue this discussion at the upcoming forums in Florida, in Missouri, and in Maine. Knowledge is the key to solving the near-term and long-term challenges in the housing sector.”
“We are hopeful these forums will jump start the dialogue needed to reform this country’s housing “policies,” said James Kemp, president of the Jack Kemp Foundation. “Our society is becoming increasingly diverse and shifting demographic trends are already impacting supply and demand. Without action, the nation’s regional housing markets face an uncertain future.”
The Urban Institute released its study, Demographic Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Housing Markets, which found that more young adults are living in their parents’ homes today than they were in 2000. Homeownership rates for working-age adults are down, especially for African-Americans and Hispanics, and roughly one in 10 residential mortgages are either in foreclosure or are at least three months past due.
The report also warned that in the future, as Baby Boomers age, there will be a sharp demand for affordable senior housing. And as these Baby Boomers sell their homes, it will be up to their sons and daughters, the “Echo Boomers” to enter the housing market. However, this generation has been especially hard hit by the recession. The report emphasizes that if their economic conditions do not improve, they may not be prepared to become homebuyers.
“The implications of the current U.S. housing crisis are quite fluid,” said Dr. Rolf Pendall, director of the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Center at the Urban Institute. “The next generation is just beginning to make decisions about homeownership, just as the largest ever generation of seniors is poised to begin a substantial housing sell-off. Pendall added, “However, the ensuing economic crisis and its effect on today’s young adults may mean that in some markets there will not be enough homebuyers.”
These findings could have major implications for diverse cities such as San Antonio, which is expecting explosive population growth over the next few decades and will face the challenge of having enough affordable housing to accommodate that growth, according to Dr. Steve Murdock, a regional demographer at Rice University.
Today’s event was the first regional forum of the Washington, DC based non-profit Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission. Launched in October 2011, the Commission aims to reform the nation’s housing policy by crafting realistic and actionable policy recommendations that consider the near-term and address the long-term challenges in the housing sector. Throughout 2012, the Commission will visit different regions of the country to hear first-hand from stakeholders about the housing challenges they face. The BPC Housing Commission will release a set of recommendations by year’s end.