Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies released its annual report on the state of the nation’s housing. It’s chock full of data, data, and more data. You should click here to get it and read it, but here are some (I was going to say “a few” but then I got carried away) key points I thought would be most relevant to Realtors.

  • image New home construction in Q1 is up 16.7% above 2011, although inventory of new single-family homes dropped to the lowest level in almost 50 years. Meanwhile, the supply of existing single-family homes is at its lowest level since 2006.
  • Based on 20 percent down and a 30-year mortgage, the typical monthly payment on a median-priced home in the U.S. was just $669. This compares more favorably to rents than at any time since the early 1970s.
  • Since 2006-2007, homeownership rates for married couples with children dropped 5.1%, and rates for other families with children dropped 4.6%. The rate for homeowners without kids remains unchanged.
  • Homeownership up to age 44 is down 5.0%. For 45-54 year olds it’s down 4.5%. For 55-64 year olds its down 3.2%. But for households 65 and over, homeownership is at record highs — around 81 percent.
  • Fewer households are transitioning to homeownership: 4.3 million households under age 35 and 730,000 households aged 35–44 joined the ranks of homeowners in 2005–10 – a significant slowdown from 2000–5, when 6.5 million owners under age 35 and 2.6 million aged 35–44 were added on net.
  • Lending and appraisals are still problems. A third of brokers told NAR they had contract failures in December 2011. In 2010, only 9% did.
  • FHA, VA, and USDA insure more than half of loans made in 2009 and 2010. Before that, they insured less than 10%.
  • Housing is becoming a burden. About 20.2 million house holds pay more than half their income for housing. A bit more than half of those burdened are renters. (In fact, 27% of renters are severely burdened, more than twice the share of homeowners.)

Note: These come from the somewhat shorter “Key Facts” document.

And a couple more facts to toss your way, these from the full report:

  • First-time buyers accounted for a third of home sales last year. In 2010 they were about 39% of the market.
  • A million more people became renters in 2011 — this is the biggest jump since the 1980s.