The price of housing represents the most acute part of this crisis. In metro areas such as the Bay Area, Seattle, and Boston, severe supply shortages have led to soaring prices — millions of low- and middle — income families are no longer able to purchase centrally located homes. The median asking price for a single-family home in San Francisco has reached $1.6 million; even with today’s low interest rates, that would require a monthly mortgage payment of roughly $6k — assuming that a family puts down the standard 20 percent. In Manhattan, listings for sale now ask an average of nearly $1,800 per square foot.
The housing cost crises in the Bay Area and New York might be the country’s most obscene. But the problem is national, driven by a combination of stagnant wages, restrictive building codes, and under-investment in construction, among other trends. Home prices are rising faster than wages in roughly 80 percent of American metro regions. In 2018, housing affordability declined in every one of the 160-some urban areas analyzed by the National Association of Realtors, save for Decatur, Illinois. Rising prices and housing shortages are squeezing families in Reno, Minneapolis, and Phoenix.
The problem now even extends to rural areas, where income growth has lagged in the post-recession period. A recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts found “sizable” increases in the number of house-holds spending half or more of their income on housing in rural counties across the country. The housing crisis is hitting Bertie County, North Carolina, and Irion County, Texas, too.
One central effect of the housing-cost crisis has been to turn the United States into a country of renters. The homeownership rate has fallen from a peak of nearly 70 percent in the mid-aughts to under 65% today; the numbers are more acute for Millennials, whose homeownership rate is 8 percentage points lower than that of their parents at the same age. Unable to buy, roughly 3.5 million younger families have kept renting — delaying the Millennial and Gen X cohorts’ wealth accumulation, thus consigning them to worse networth trajectories for the rest of their lives. And renting, for many families, is not affordable, either: Nearly half of renters are facing uncomfortable monthly bills, and the cost of renting has risen faster than renters’ incomes for a full 20_years now.
The cost-of~living crisis extends beyond housing. Health-care costs are exorbitant, too: Americans pay roughly twice as much for insurance and medical services as do citizens of other wealthy countries, but they don’t have better outcomes. In the post-recession period, premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs in general just kept rising, eating away at families’ budgets, casting millions into debt, and consigning millions more to bankruptcy.
The “cost burden” of health coverage climbed through the 2010s; just from 2010 to 2016, family private-insurance premiums jumped 28 percent to $17,710, while median household incomes rose less than 20 percent. That meant less take-home pay for workers. Deductibles — what a family has to fork over before insurance kicks in — also soared. From 2010 to 2016, the share of employees in health plans with a deductible jumped from 78 percent to 85 percent. And the average annual deductible went from less than $2,000 to more than $3,000.
The country’s insurance premiums and out-of-pocket health-cost burdens are just very, very high — including for people with publicly subsidized or public coverage. The average person on Medicare spends $5,460 on health care beyond what they pay for insurance every year. The average person with Medicaid forks over nearly half that. No wonder two in three bankruptcies are related to medical issues, and nearly 140 million American adults report “medical financial hardship” each and every year.
“Don’t even ask about student-loan-debt.” It’s mind boggling… 😉
February 13, 2019
Spoke to my friend Ken on the phone about how his new ‘ground breaking’ MLM business is really taking off. I said I would follow his progress… but, I’ve got enough going on right now, right here. … it’s about to EXPLODE.
I’ve always been fascinated by dreamers. And making dreams come true for myself and others is what my life is about. Today’s ”Live the Dream” quote:
”The best reason for having dreams is that in dreams no reasons are necessary.” — Ashleigh Brilliant