The National League of Cities (NLC) published a new affordable housing report titled “Homeward Bound: The Road to Affordable Housing,” last week.
The report cautioned about an affordable housing crisis unfolding across cities, towns, and villages in the US. It says stagnating wages and soaring real estate prices have become the most significant barriers to economic prosperity for American families.
“In fast-growing cities, wages lag behind housing costs, leading to a scarcity of affordable housing,” NLC states.
“In legacy cities with slower growth, a persistent high rate of vacant and blighted housing exists due to the ongoing after-effects of the foreclosure crisis, and general economic disruption.”
Housing specialists, scholars, real estate developers, city staff, and task force members (mayors from around the country) all took part in creating the new report.
The crisis has forced many people to become homeless. Latest government data shows more than half a million Americans are homeless. A lot of the homelessness is based around West Coast cities where home prices have jumped but wages haven’t for the working class. Half of those who rent homes are cost-burdened, and the average minimum-wage worker has to work 99 hours per week to afford just a one-bedroom apartment.
Housing is the most significant factor impacting economic mobility for people. It’s a growing cost for an increasing number of working families, creating cost burdens that affect millions of people.
Nearly 40% of households are renting, and research shows half of these households spend at least 30% of their income on housing, a dangerous level that has depleted the savings of 50% of Americans who have less than $400 in savings.
“All levels of government – local, state, and federal – need to face the nation’s growing affordable housing crisis,” said Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Chair of the NLC Taskforce on Housing.
“The time is now for local leaders and the federal government to make bold investments that will ensure our residents have access to a safe and stable home. Our Taskforce’s report is a roadmap for how we can work together to confront this crisis with innovative strategies before it is too late.”
NLC notes that when affordable living conditions are achieved, communities tend to prosper which strengthens future generations.
But as we’ve noticed, the middle-class bottom 90% of Americans haven’t been given wages that allow them to afford homes in the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price NSA Index (which include 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa and Washington, DC).
President Trump promotes “the greatest economy ever” on Twitter as wages have slightly moved higher in the last several years. But adjusted for inflation, wages are the same as they were in 2000.
In some cities, such as San Francisco and San Diego, most homes have been hyperinflated in the last decade because of the tech bubble, have become areas that are considered the epicenter of the affordability crisis.
The affordable housing crisis has paralyzed tens of millions of Americans. They can no longer afford to buy homes but have to rent apartments with rising costs that deplete a bulk of their wages. Millions will never recover; Millions will never be able to afford a home again: The American dream is dead.