Why did so many Americans get overstretched in the housing boom? One reason is that they bought more house than they really needed. There’s evidence for that in a Census Bureau report this past week.
According to Census, 20% of occupied homes in 2005 had four or more bedrooms. Poking around elsewhere on the Census website, I find that the average number of people in a family household last year was 3.2. Figuring that the mommy and the daddy are usually sharing one bedroom, it sounds like there are a lot of empty bedrooms out there in Foreclosure Land.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.