October 12, 2008

A new study entitled Stretched Thin:

The Impact of Rising Housing Expenses on America’s Owners and Renters.

Conducted by the Center for Housing Policy. The study reveals that mortgage payments are only one of several things contributing to the challenges people face. Here are some of the facts contributing to the foreclosure tsunami. Following is a summary of very dismal findings.

Between 1996 and 2006, all the big homeowner expenses increased faster than incomes.

1 Mortgage principal and interest payments are generally the largest housing expense. From 1995 to 2005, these payments increased almost 46 percent, outpacing the increase in the median homeowner income of just over 36 percent.
2. Utilities 43 percent
3. Property taxes 66 percent, and property insurance 83 percent.
4. Fuel oil prices increased 131 percent and jumped another 52 percent to $3.69 per gallon in 2008. gasoline expenses have nearly tripled in the last six years from $1.38 per gallon in 2002 to $4.05 per gallon in 2008 and so as many Americans continue to live far from mass transits.
5. Natural gas prices more than doubled from $6.34 per thousand cubic feet in 1996 to $13.75 in
2006 and further increased to $14.30 in 2008.
6. Property taxes are a recurring expense for all homeowners. Typically, property taxes account for just over four percent of a homeowner’s overall income. From 1996 to 2006, average property tax bills increased nearly 66 percent.
7. Property insurance rose nearly 83 percent over the 1995 to 2005 period, partly as a result of disaster risks and increases in construction costs and the cost of repairs and partly because of increases in mortgage amounts.
Our Incomes

Incomes increased by 36.3 percent. Rents increased by 51 percent between 1996 and 2006, while incomes increased by 36.3 percent over the same period. The study further found that large increases since 2006 in the cost of heating oil, natural gas, and gasoline have further stretched families’ budgets. In 2006, homeowners typically spent 26.2 percent of their income on housing expenses – up from 21.5 percent in 1996 – while among renters, housing cons percent of income, up from 25.6 percent ten years earlier. Now many of us are spending nearly half our incomes on housing.

Thanks for Reading
Howard Bell
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