The only hope many younger generations have to accumulate wealth is to stay cozy with grandma. Since 1995 (over a decade before the Recession), the median wealth of 25-34 year olds declined 39 percent, while 35-44 year olds declined 27 percent, and 45-54 year olds’ wealth declined 15 percent. There have been potent gains reported from 2013 to 2016, but obviously not nearly enough to offset long-term losses. The main culprits are excessive student loan debt and the decline in homeownership rates. You might say the growth of student loan debt has heavily contributed to lowered homeownership rates. To me, the chart below demonstrates why down payments are harder for younger buyers to save up for.

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Yesterday morning, the Dallas City Council unanimously approved its first housing policy aimed at addressing affordable housing.  It took a while, but we’ve finally put on our big boy pants.  You may recall back in January the city rolled out a Market Value Analysis that measured housing across Dallas to map the varying levels of housing and costs. There wasn’t a lot of shock on the large scale of Northern Dallas being better off than Southern Dallas. But the block-by-block analysis identified specific areas where an affordable housing policy might do some good.

Armed with that information, the city held many community meetings to discuss the findings and gain input on ways to address affordability in Dallas. Nearly 39,000 people participated on those in-person and call-in meetings.

The results of these efforts identified several issues … (download full policy here)

Despite all the building of the past few years, Dallas has a 20,000 housing unit shortfall in both purchase and rental housing. It’s not hard to see why in 2017 the median home price swelled by 9.1 percent, in part because available housing only grew 3.6 percent. Scarcity increases price.

Meanwhile, 60 percent of Dallas families, regardless of income, are cost burdened by their housing costs. This means they spend more than 30 percent of their net income on housing costs. This forces people to leave Dallas for cheaper suburbs that increase commute times and transportation costs, in effect burdening them in another way.

Adding to unaffordability are developers snatching any postage stamp of land in hot neighborhoods at exorbitant prices while leaving poorer neighborhoods begging for more housing. Cheap land and high building costs in areas with less economic power aren’t as profitable as projects in wealthy neighborhoods that generate top dollar. And so far, the glut of luxury apartment building shows little sign of abatement.

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