Interesting that a new study, or another damnable statistic as it were, shows that home ownership in America is approaching a 20 year low at 65.2%. Hey look at that, home ownership seems to be tied to the job market participation rate which is also at a low, except it is something like a 35 year low down near the bottom of 67%. I wonder why those two things are tied together, could it be that if you don’t have a job then it is hard to afford a home on a salary of $0. Weird.
Instead we keep hearing about the rights of people. The right to an education, the right to healthcare, the right to a home. None of these things are promised by our Constitution, yet we keep hearing about how they are rights; things that all men are entitled to. I don’t know about you but no one handed me the keys to my current home and told me it was mine simply for existing. That’s not the way it works for millions of hard-working American men and women.
Instead, we scrimp and save, make all the loan applications, jump through all the hoops, have our credit scores felt up by the banking proctologist, and then, and only if we’re good enough in their eyes, do we qualify for a loan that we will spend the next fifteen to thirty years or more paying off. Sometimes if you barely qualify you get one of those high interest loans. I remember our first home loan, when anyone with a pulse could qualify and the credit cutoff was 642. yes, 642, I know you say you’ve got to be kidding me. 642 won’t even get you a department store credit card. No kidding, but in the deregulated market of the early twenty-first century it could get you a house.
This all had to do with the Clinton Administrations manipulation of Fannie and Freddie and the “fairness” in loaning that had gone on throughout all the late 90’s when the market was forced to give loans to people who should never have qualified in the first place. Mortgages, especially ARMs, popped up overnight and were taken advantage of by people who didn’t have the math skills to understand they were the ones being taken advantage of. Then in the middle of 2006 the whole bubble popped and a great big pile of people lost their homes in the ensuing debacle.
Of course all this foreclosure madness, bankruptcy, and these banks left holding empty bags were not good times for the economy and it crumbled in through 2009 while the housing market, which everyone had their fingers in and all this sub-prime lending was a popular investment, drug the economy down. The housing market is just starting to recover now as investors purchase homes that have been on the foreclosure market and get them back out their as rental properties. I think that honestly you are looking at the next great investment if you happen to have half a million dollars to by three or four houses to rent out.
The problem is that the current administration still thinks that everyone has a right to a home and wants to start pushing the boundaries of the rules again to help the “less fortunate,” which really means those not willing to work hard enough or seek better employment, to get home loans they can’t afford on minimum wage salaries. Home ownership has never been a right, it has always been a privilege. You work hard, you save, you pinch your pennies, and maybe one day you can afford a home of your own. It is one of the American dreams, that doesn’t mean you have a right to one, which is what too many people think these days.