The 2015 Housing Market

January 14, 2016

In 2015, the home ownership rate in the U.S. reached a 40-year low at 63.4%.

Only 32 percent of home buyers in 2015 were first-time buyers, the lowest percentage since 1987, and the third straight annual decline. (Laura Kusisto, The Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2015)

While wages were stagnant, rents increased. Metro areas with populations less than 2.5 million faced the largest increase in the share of renters paying more than half of their household income toward rent and utilities. Americans demand for affordable housing far outstripped supply. (MakeRoomUSA.org)

Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, continued to be the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the nation. As of December 2015, Blackstone had acquired 50,000 houses, most of them foreclosures.

Deutsche Bank gave Blackstone a $3.6 billion line of credit to buy houses allowing it to outbid individual local buyers. Blackstone’s biggest investors include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase. (source: Laura Gottesdiener, “Wall Street’s Hot New Financial Product: Your Rent Check,” Mother Jones, March/April 2014.)

Wall Street continued to securitize income from single-family rental properties (see Home Partners of America 2016-1 Trust which owns a pool of 2,232 rental properties) with Moody’s giving the Class A certificates a triple A rating.

Lawmakers received, at a minimum, $27.1 million from rental, capital gains, interest and dividend income from their property in 2014. (Will Tucker, OpenSecrets.org, Center for Responsive Politics, January 14, 2006)