Photo courtesy of Flickr user Russ through a Creative Commons license

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Russ through a Creative Commons license

Cowtown has new braggin’ rights: the U.S. Census Bureau says they were the fastest-growing big city in the nation between 2000-2013. Fort Worth population saw a 42.34 percent increase in that time. Dallas lagged far behind, coming in at 24th.

The 2010 Census count for Fort Worth put the number of residents at 741,206. Compare this to a population of 534,694 just a decade earlier.

Fort Worth is the 17th-largest city in the country, and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Jump to read more!  (more…)

DollarBillFanThis caught my eye in the Wall Street Journal last week: “more than half of all homes sold last year and so far in 2013 have been financed without a mortgage, according to an analysis by economists at Goldman Sachs Group.”

According to the analysts, 20% of all homes sold before the housing crash were “all-cash” sales, or around 30% of sales by dollar volume. But that has changed dramatically over the past seven years. Now the all-cash share of home sales has more than doubled, increasing by more than 30 percentage points.

Where did they get their numbers? Goldman scrutinized home sales figures from the Census Bureau and the National Association of Realtors and mortgage-origination data from the Mortgage Bankers Association and Lender Processing Services.

This explains why home sales have jumped over the past two years despite more hoops to jump through to become qualified for a mortgages, and the declining mortgage application index. Today Wells Fargo reports laying off 2300 employees due to increases in mortgage rates, which are stymying re-fis.

Who is making all these cash purchases? Investors, foreign buyers, and wealthy homeowners that likely do not want to go through the hassle of getting a mortgage. Some are downsizing to smaller homes equity rich before closing on a sale. Others are loving real estate as an investment more than the stock market. We sure know how lending standards have tightened up since the housing bubble. Banks now scrutinize borrowers’ tax returns and bank statements to verify their incomes and the source of their down payment, and the self-employed have been targeted.

I know of a lot of cash deals in Dallas, tell us what you are seeing on the real estate streets.

 

Last Thursday, the Census Bureau released 2010 figures indicating that American home ownership is as low as it was during the Great Depression.

Last year, the U.S. homeownership rate fell to 65.1 percent last year. And analysts are concerned it may never return to the 2005 to 2006 housing boom peak in which nearly 70 percent of Americans owned their own homes.

There are the economic realities that came about in 2008: tighter credit, high unemployment, and considerably less help from the government. In fact, some might say that the government now is doing all it can to de-incentivize home ownership. It really is very similar to the 1930’s and 1940’s, when young adults moved in with their parents because they either did not have jobs or had spouses at war. Home ownership rates are at their lowest for middle-aged adults, aged 35 to 64, many of whom either have homes underwater or have turned the keys over in foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Here’s a disturbing trend: the homeownership gap between whites and blacks is now at its widest since 1960, wiping out more than 40 years of gains.

The market crashed, and attitudes toward housing are leaning to renting, rather than buying. Many experts say the younger generation is a Renter Nation who will eschew ownership of everything, from homes to autos, maybe even clothes. And as populations migrate to more urban environments, who needs to own a home that will tie you down, and really then, who needs a car?

The Obama administration earlier this year said it would move from promoting homeownership for all and steer people with low incomes toward renting, where appropriate. And Congress is actually considering whether to eliminate the federal tax deduction for home-mortgage interest, which has been in place since the early 20th century.

The number of Americans owning homes had steadily increased in each census, thanks to a growing economy, favorable tax laws and easier financing. The only exception was in 1980-1990, when ownership remained unchanged at 64.2 percent.  The U.S. continues to maintain a relatively high rate of homeownership, surpassed only by countries such as Spain, Ireland, Australia and England.

For blacks in the U.S., home ownership rates fell from 46.3 percent in 2000 to 44.3 percent; among whites, the rate dipped to 72.2 percent from 72.4. But Hispanic home ownership in the U.S. has increased from 45.7 percent to 47.3 percent.

When it comes to renting, nearly 44 percent of all renters in the U.S. are minorities, whereas only 22 percent of homeowners are minorities.  The Census also found:

• During the last decade, homeownership rates decreased in each region of the country.  Midwesterners were most likely to own a house, at 69.2 percent, followed by Southerners at 66.7 percent, Northeasterners at 62.2 percent and Westerners at 60.5 percent.

• West Virginia boasts the highest home ownership rate at 73.4 percent. The District of Columbia had the lowest at 42 percent.

• No brainer: homeowners were the majority in most of the nation’s metropolitan areas, but outnumbered by renters in many of the nation’s largest cities. Renters make up 69 percent of the households in New York City, 61.8 percent in Los Angeles, and 55.1 percent in Chicago, cities with high average home values. Houston, which has an average home value of about $170,000, had the next highest percent of renters at 54.6 percent.

Be nice to the seniors! Those age 65 and older have the highest home ownership rate at 77.5 percent. Good, yes, but down from a 2000 peak of 78.1 percent.

Here’s what’s good news for us in Dallas: homeownership was nearly 40 percent among adults 34 and younger, the highest since the mid-1990s. Dallas has a vibrant young population, and home ownership is expected to increase dramatically for minority and foreign-born households in the coming decades, especially in areas that have experienced high levels of immigration, like Texas. According to the Federal Reserve of Dallas, our Hispanic population is younger and faster growing than the overall population. Many Hispanic-headed households will move into the prime home-buying age groups in the coming decades, which could give Texas real estate a boost few other states will experience.