Demand for home ownership is falling in major markets, index shows


If you’re looking to build wealth, renting a home may be wiser than buying, the new Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index reveals. Covering the first quarter of 2019, the index reveals that 19 of the 23 metropolitan markets tracked indicate slight to significant downward pressure on the demand for home ownership.

Published quarterly, the index is produced by Eli Beracha and William Hardin, professors at FIU’s Hollo School of Real Estate, and Ken Johnson, professor at Florida Atlantic University. It estimates wealth creation through homeownership and equity appreciation versus renting and reinvesting in more traditional financial assets.

“Historical evidence indicates that home prices adjust to these directional pressures,” said Ken Johnson, associate dean of graduate programs at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business.

Dallas, Denver and Houston are seeing the most significant decline, and are the markets most highly favoring renters. Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle, San Francisco and Miami are also falling, but a slightly slower rate.

Eleven markets – Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego and St. Louis – are showing slight to mild downward pressure on the demand for home ownership.

Four cities are moving into buyer’s territory – Cleveland, Chicago, New York and Detroit.

“Relatively speaking in terms of price, these markets are the most stable in our measured group,” said Eli Beracha, co-creator of the index and director of the Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU.

Factors including slowing housing starts, rising mortgage rates, decreased demand and unsustainable price increases are all combining to slow housing markets around the country, the professors noted.

Beracha and Johnson agree that uncertainty over mortgage rates is the greatest current threat to housing values as signs point to peaking housing markets around the country.

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