Affordable Housing, Community Development, Reports and Publications

Housing Demand Remains Weak, But Rental Market Could Spark Rebirth


In its new assessment of the nation’s housing market, "The State of the Nation’s Housing 2011," The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University concludes that sustained employment growth is needed to spark housing demand and resulting sales.

After three consecutive years of record-low construction levels, the vigor of the recovery in housing now hinges on a return of demand, concludes the report, released last week.  The lingering consequences of the recession and financial crisis, however, are thwarting a broader recovery.

"While the sharp declines in both home prices and interest rates have left homes in many places more affordable than they have been in decades," says Eric S. Belsky, Managing Director of the Joint Center, "stubbornly high unemployment and tightened lending standards have limited the ability of many first-time buyers to capitalize on the situation."

Although the housing industry continues to face significant challenges, one bright sign beginning to appear is in the rental market. "Rental housing markets are tightening and may begin to lead a modest recovery in housing construction this year," says Chris Herbert, Research Director of the Joint Center. "But we need sustained employment growth to spur a broader increase in housing demand and a recovery in home sales."

The full report can be downloaded and read online here.


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