Liberty Street Economics
February 17, 2017

A Close Look at the Decline of Homeownership



LSE_A Close Look at the Decline of Homeownership

The homeownership rate—the percentage of households that own rather than rent the homes that they live in—has fallen sharply since mid-2005. In fact, in the second quarter of 2016 the homeownership rate fell to 62.9 percent, its lowest level since 1965. In this blog post, we look at underlying demographic trends to gain a deeper understanding of the large increase in the homeownership rate from 1995 to 2005 and the subsequent large decline. Although there is reason to believe that the homeownership rate may begin to rise again in the not-too-distant future, it is unlikely to fully recover to its previous peak levels. This is a disconcerting finding for those who view homeownership as an integral part of the American Dream and a key component of income security during retirement.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:02 AM in Demographics , Housing | Permalink | Comments ( 2 )

The FRBNY DSGE Model Forecast—February 2017



This post presents the latest update of the economic forecasts generated by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s (FRBNY) dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model. We introduced this model in a series of blog posts in September 2014 and published forecasts twice a year thereafter. With this post, we move to a quarterly release schedule, and highlight how our forecasts have changed since November 2016.

February 16, 2017

Just Released: Total Household Debt Nears 2008 Peak but Debt Picture Looks Much Different



LSE_2017_hhdc-Q4_sculley_460_art

The latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data showed a substantial increase in aggregate household debt balances in the fourth quarter of 2016 and for the year as a whole. As of December 31, 2016, total household debt stood at $12.58 trillion, an increase of $226 billion (or 1.8 percent) from the third quarter of 2016. Total household debt is now just 0.8 percent ($99 billion) below its third quarter 2008 peak of $12.68 trillion, and 12.8 percent above the second quarter 2013 trough. But debt looks very different in 2016 than it did the last time we saw this level of indebtedness.

Posted by Blog Author at 11:10 AM in Household Finance | Permalink | Comments ( 2 )

The Homeownership Gap Is Finally Closing



LSE_The Homeownership Gap Is Finally Closing

The homeownership rate peaked at 69 percent in late 2004. By the summer of 2016, it had dropped below 63 percent—exactly where it was when the government started reporting these data back in 1965. The housing bust played a central role in this decline. We capture this effect through what we call the homeownership gap—the difference between the official homeownership rate and the “effective” rate where only homeowners with positive equity in their house are counted. The effective rate takes into account that a borrower does not in an economic sense own the house if the mortgage debt is greater than the house’s value. In this post, we show that between 2005 and 2012, the effective rate fell well below, and put downward pressure on, the official rate. We also demonstrate that the increase in house prices and the exit of millions of homeowners through foreclosure has largely eliminated the gap between the official and effective homeownership rates.

February 15, 2017

Houses as ATMs No Longer



LSE_Houses as ATMs No Longer

Housing equity is the primary form of collateral that households use for borrowing. This makes it a potentially important source of consumption funding, especially for younger households. In a previous post we showed that owner’s equity in residential real estate has finally, thanks to increasing home prices, rebounded to and essentially re-attained its 2005 peak level. Yet in spite of a gain of more than $7 trillion in housing equity since 2012, so far homeowners haven’t been tapping this equity at anything like the pace we witnessed during the housing boom that ended in 2006. In this post, we analyze the changes in equity withdrawal.

February 14, 2017

The Evolution of Home Equity Ownership



LSE_The Evolution of Home Equity Ownership

In yesterday’s post, we discussed the extreme swings that household leverage has taken since 2005, using combined loan-to-value (CLTV) ratios for housing as our metric. We also explored the risks that current household leverage presents in the event of a significant downturn in prices. Today we reverse the perspective, and consider housing equity—the value of housing net of all debt for which it serves as collateral. For the majority of households, housing equity is the principal form of wealth, other than human capital, and it thus represents an important form of potential collateral for borrowing. In that sense, housing equity is an opportunity in the same way that housing leverage is a risk. It turns out that aggregate housing equity at the end of 2015 was very close, in nominal terms, to its pre-crisis (2005) level. But housing wealth has moved to a different group of people—made up of people who are older and have higher credit scores than a decade ago. In today’s post, we look at the evolution of housing equity and its owners.

February 13, 2017

How Resilient Is the U.S. Housing Market Now?



LSE_How Resilient Is the U.S. Housing Market Now?


Housing is by far the most important asset for most households, and, not coincidentally, housing debt dwarfs other household liabilities. The relationship between housing debt and housing values figures significantly in financial and macroeconomic stability, as events during the housing bust of 2006-12 clearly demonstrated. This week, Liberty Street Economics presents five posts touching on various aspects of housing, from the changing relationship between mortgage debt and housing equity to the future of homeownership. In today’s post, we provide estimates of housing equity and explore how vulnerable households are to declines in house prices, using methods introduced in our paper “Tracking and Stress Testing U.S. Household Leverage.”

February 10, 2017

Historical Echoes: The Legacy of Freedman’s Savings and Trust



LSE_Historical Echoes: The Legacy of Freedman’s Savings and Trust

Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, often referred to as the Freedman’s Bank, was created specifically for former slaves and African-American soldiers. It was established by legislation signed by Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1865, only weeks before his assassination. Groundwork for the bank was laid during a meeting in January of that year by abolitionist preacher John Alvord, who met with a number of others to discuss the possibility of founding a system to assist freed African-Americans in their savings, financial development, and integration into American economic society. In the ten years of its existence, the Freedman’s Bank brought hope and then heartbreak to the African-American community.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Historical Echoes | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

February 08, 2017

Beyond 30: Long-Term Treasury Bond Issuance from 1957 to 1965



LSE_2017_Long-Term Treasury Bond Issuance from 1957 to 1965

As noted in our previous post, thirty years has marked the outer boundary of Treasury bond maturities since “regular and predictable” issuance of coupon-bearing Treasury debt became the norm in the 1970s. However, the Treasury issued bonds with maturities of greater than thirty years on seven occasions in the 1950s and 1960s, in an effort to lengthen the maturity structure of the debt. While our earlier post described the efforts of Treasury debt managers to lengthen debt maturities between 1953 and 1957, this post examines the period from 1957 to 1965. An expanded version of both posts is available here.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Treasury | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

February 06, 2017

Beyond 30: Long-Term Treasury Bond Issuance from 1953 to 1957



LSE_2017_Long-Term Treasury Bond Issuance from 1953 to 1957

Ever since “regular and predictable” issuance of coupon-bearing Treasury debt became the norm in the 1970s, thirty years has marked the outer boundary of Treasury bond maturities. However, longer-term bonds were not unknown in earlier years. Seven such bonds, including one 40-year bond, were issued between 1955 and 1963. The common thread that binds the seven bonds together was the interest of Treasury debt managers in lengthening the maturity structure of the debt. This post describes the efforts to lengthen debt maturities between 1953 and 1957. A subsequent post will examine the period from 1957 to 1965. An extended version of both posts is available here.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Treasury | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

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