The blog of the Urban Institute
January 4, 2017

Seven housing finance numbers to remember in 2017

2017 promises to be an interesting year for the housing industry. We expect mortgage rates to remain elevated and possibly increase, which should drive refinancing and origination volumes down and home prices up.

This will create cross-currents in the market, as rising rates and prices keep some would-be buyers out of the market, and lenders expanding access to credit to slow falling revenues will bring in other buyers.

For policy, a power shift in the White House and on Capitol Hill is likely to mean renewed engagement on housing finance reform.

As these trends and power dynamics develop over the year, keep in mind these seven numbers, which illustrate some of the most important issues facing the housing market:

It’s too hard to get a mortgage for millions of Americans.

  • 6.3 million: The number of additional mortgages that would have been made between 2009 and 2015 if lending standards had kept with historic norms.

We don’t have enough homes for the US population, causing rents and prices to rise.

  • 430,000: The shortfall in housing units—for sale and for rent—created in 2015.

People are increasingly choosing renting over owning.

  • 62 percent: The percentage of new households renting in this decade, a major increase from 45 percent between 2000 and 2010. Fifty-six percent of new households are projected to be renting in the 2020s.

Minorities are not achieving homeownership benefits at the same rates as whites, which could permanently lower the US homeownership rate.

  • 41 percent: The current homeownership rate for African Americans, compared with 72 percent for whites.
  • 47 percent: The current homeownership rate for Hispanics.

The private-label securities market has collapsed, leaving mortgage securitization mostly in the hands of the government.

  • 12 percent: The percentage of the mortgage market securitized by private entities (rather than government entities) in 2001.
  • 0.44 percent: The percentage of the mortgage market securitized by private entities in the first half of 2016. 

To see how these trends play out this year, follow our monthly chartbook.

A pedestrian walks by a mural, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, depicting the colorful style of some of the homes in the Tusculum neighborhood of Cincinnati. Photo by Al Behrman/AP.


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