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Can Anyone Afford A Place To Live Anymore?

New Census data shows that housing costs throughout the country have increased greatly, for both homeowners and renters, exceeding any income gains. Fastest growing, suburban regions in the country are among those hit the hardest.
October 4, 2006, 11am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"The burden of housing costs in nearly every part of the country grew sharply from 2000 to 2005, according to new Census Bureau data being made public today. The numbers vividly illustrate the impact, often distributed unevenly, of the crushing combination of escalating real estate prices and largely stagnant incomes."

“Housing prices have gone up much more than incomes have,” said Christopher Jones, vice president for research at the Regional Plan Association in New York City. “Clearly, you can’t sustain that sort of imbalance over the long run. There’s only so long that housing prices can go up without sustained increases in income to support them.”

"The data, from the American Community Survey, was collected throughout 2005, some of it before the real estate market began softening over the past year.

While the escalation in house prices that began in the mid-1990’s has slowed down in most places, and while prices are even dropping in some markets, rents are currently rising."

"S. Lawrence Yun, an economist with the National Association of Realtors, said renters in desirable cities might be spending more of their income on housing in hopes of getting a toehold in places with good schools, better homes and a good quality of life. He said, “There is certainly a concern that people are devoting a large portion of their income to housing, and one of the reasons is due to the more limited housing supply.”

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Published on Tuesday, October 3, 2006 in The New York Times
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