Partly fueled by low mortgage rates and in part by an improving economy, homeownership in the US reached record levels this decade. As with any hot market, there are fears – even from the head of the fed himself - that the “housing bubble” will eventually burst or that, indeed, it's already started to pop. Cracks in the "subprime" mortgage
market may be giving way to larger problems in the market. We won't offer any predictions here, but we will give you a statistical glance at the state of housing today – among homeowners and renters.


  • Homeownership rate:

    • 68.2% (2007, 2nd quarter) (CB)

over the years - % of households that own their home


source: CB

  • Average sales price (the asking price):

    • $201 thousand (2007, 2nd quarter) (that's the median average –
      meaning half of homes were on sale for less and half on sale for more) (CB)

over the years - average asking price in 2005 dollars

source: CB


  • The rest of us rent. Of the 31% of American households that rent: Census

    • 20% receive some kind of subsidy, including:

      • 6% that receive government subsidies (1.9% of all households)

      • 5% that live in public housing (1.7% of all households)

Who holds the mortages

  • Of the $13.5 trillion that Americans have out in mortgages ($10.4 trillion of them in home mortgages), those mortages are being held by:
source: federal reserve (pdf - table 217). note: GSEs are quasi governmental agencies like Fannie Mae that back mortgages. ABS stands for "asset-backed securities" - we're not entirely sure about this, but we think those are the guys largely chopping up the sub-prime and other higher risk mortgages
  • The Federal Housing administration insures 4.8 million of those mortgages (2006) FHA

Where the facts are from:

Other sites for more info:

Recommended obsessive fun...

  • Very cool interactive graphic from NYT (using Moody's data), comparing average incomes to housing prices across the country over past 20 years.

Updated Summer 2006

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