The housing crisis that took hold over eight years ago hasn’t ended, at least according to the vast majority of respondents in the MacArthur Foundation’s 2016 How Housing Matters survey. An incredible 81 percent of those interviewed say that housing affordability is a big a problem now as it was then.
Indeed, some 60 percent say the affordability problem is a “serious” one, compared to just 29 percent who believe that the “housing crisis is over”. That’s down from 35 percent who said the same thing one year ago.
The vast majority of respondents agreed with the statement that a stable and affordable home is fundamental to their economic security, but alas, they also believe such a home is becoming more unattainable. Some 68 percent said it’s much harder for today’s buyers to find a suitable home than it was for previous generations.
“Too many Americans today believe the dream of a decent, stable home and the prospects for social mobility are receding,” Julia Stasch, president of the MacArthur Foundation, said in a statement. “Having a decent, stable, affordable home is about more than shelter: It is at the core of strong, vibrant, and healthy families and communities.”
If it sounds bad, it probably is. But the good news is that most people are optimistic the housing affordability crisis can be solved, though it will need to be tackled with urgency by the government if it’s to get done. Almost two thirds of those quizzed said the government could take action to reduce the problem, with 76 percent agreeing that it’s “very or fairly important” for officials to introduce new policies on housing. However, it remains to be seen if the government will heed their calls – some 63 percent believe housing affordability hasn’t received enough attention from elected officials, which suggests confidence in them doing so remains low.
Another worrying finding from the survey is it seems over half of respondents need to make some kind of sacrifice to be able to afford their mortgage or rental payments. These sacrifices include working an additional job, stopping investments in retirement funds, cutting back on healthcare or stopping using credit cards.