Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies came out with its annual snapshot of the housing industry this week and it is bleak. The report, the university’s 20th, calls this the worst housing downturn in a generation.
The report points the blame firmly at mortgage lenders. It notes that the number of homeowners shelling out more than half of their income on house payments jumped by 3.8 million to more 15% of all homeowners between 2001 and 2006. Last year the number of foreclosures doubled to 1.3 million as a result
This comes as the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices reports its April numbers. All 20 of the largest U.S. markets showed declines. The average decline was nearly 18%.
“The slump has not yet run its full course,” the Joint Center’s director concludes. Of course, you don’t need a degree from Harvard to figure that out.
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.