People Aren’t Buying Houses Because They Have No Money


This is from the “Gee, ya think?” file. It’s from a Financial Times story summarizing various theories about why the housing market has turned flat. After acknowledging that none of the usual theories seem “quite sufficient” to explain things, we get this:

[Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at Corelogic] said he believes “it’s structural”, pointing out that as long ago as the 1990s, there was growth in population and employment, “but during that entire time period we have not had median incomes growth”.

Although the US economy has added several million jobs in the last few years, there has been little incomes growth for the average American, and that may have reduced housing demand. New household formation has been exceptionally low, with many adults in their 20s and 30s continuing to live with their parents.

That helps to explain some of the divergent trends in the housing market. For example, builders are putting up much bigger homes, to cater to wealthy Americans who are doing well, which helps to explain why the number of starts is low.

Yeah, that could explain it, all right.

None of this snark is meant for Robin Harding, who wrote this piece. At least he put a spotlight on the obvious problem of stagnant incomes. That’s more than most business writers have managed to do.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.