This is witnessed not just in countries where institutions of democracy and law are weaker; it has been happening in more advanced countries too.
The housing market has gone out of reach for some American middle-class people across the nation, especially in the urban areas such as New Jersey and New York City, as mortgage rates have skyrocketed this year as compared to the previous year.
The housing market has been pushed out of reach for some Americans by sky-high mortgage rates. It’s never been harder to build wealth in modern times, investors and business analysts say.
The reasons for this unprecedented phenomenon are not far to seek as experts say that it is largely because it has become much harder to buy a home, the “big ticket” to wealth for most Americans.
Less wealthy Americans have also been hit hard by high inflation, high borrowing costs, and meagre wage gains. That led to strikes in the healthcare and automobile sectors, media reports said.
Americans have never found it harder in recent times to build wealth owing to sky-high interest rates in the economy, which have spiked borrowing costs and pushed home ownership out of reach for many Americans, the Business Insider said in an analysis of the realty sector.
“An inaccessible housing market spells trouble for those looking to build up their nest eggs, according to BankRate senior industry analyst Ted Rossman.
Over the last 10 years, the median US home has appreciated 58 per cent in value, according to Federal Reserve data.
That’s not comparable as investing in the S&P 500. The benchmark stock index has appreciated 152 per cent over the past 10 years – but real estate is still a critical part of becoming wealthy, Rossman said, since most Americans have their net-worth tied up in a home.
As high barriers rise up in front of the homebuyer in the US, this is the worst time to grow your wealth since the start of the modern era, which is sought to be defined by economists as the end of World War II.
“It’s harder than ever to buy a home. And home ownership is often the ticket to wealth for a lot of people,” Rossman told Business Insider, adding, “We know that people aren’t always great about saving for a rainy day or saving for retirement.”
In 2022, US homeowners had a median net worth of $396,200 – nearly 40 times that of renters, who measured around $10,400, Federal Reserve data revealed.
As an increasing number of Ameicans were priced out of the housing market, the gap has been growing wider since early this year.
Over 75 per cent homes are now too expensive for middle-class buyers, according to a June study by the National Association of Realtors and Realtor.com.
Home sales in September, meanwhile, plummeted to their lowest level in 13 years with consumer sentiment plunging correspondingly.
A record 85 per cent Americans surveyed by Fannie Mae last month said it’s a bad time to buy a home.
The struggle to build wealth — by way of the housing market or other means — has been reflected in the latest economic data. Since the start of the year, the top 0.1 per cent of Americans have gained $1.3 trillion in wealth, while the bottom 50 per cent have gained just $330 billion, as per Fed data.
That gap is even worse than it was during the same timeframe before the pandemic in 2019, when the top 0.1 per cent gained $1.3 trillion over the first three quarters, and the bottom 50 per cent gained $240 billion in wealth. The bottom 50 per cent of Americans have earned less this year than they did in the same timeframe in 2019, Fed data showed.