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The "double-edged sword of a booming housing market" is affecting millions of Americans who want to buy homes, writes Rani Molla on Vox. "The sellers’ market is making those who already own homes even wealthier, while high prices push homeownership further out of reach for many Americans. In turn, the housing boom is creating a new population of home renters: people who in years past would have been able to afford a home but are now getting priced out."
Despite "astronomically high" prices, "houses are nonetheless being plucked off the market faster than ever." While the pandemic accelerated the trend, "it has its roots in a confluence of factors, from an aging millennial population to an influx of private equity," Molla writes. Yet home ownership remains out of reach for millions of Americans whose incomes stagnated or disappeared altogether. "Remember, in the pandemic, the US has also been in a recession while these housing prices have skyrocketed." While home prices rose by 17%, single-family rental costs only went up by around 4%—meaning a likely increase in renter households who miss out on the wealth-building power of property ownership. "It’s creating a greater divide between the haves and have-nots," says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. "Homeowners are getting sizable wealth gain. Renters are getting left out."