What’s Behind Dallas’ Low Home Ownership Rates?

The answer is two-fold: affordability and demographics.

By Hady MawajdehMarch 2, 2016 10:20 am| ,

What was once discussed in terms of achieving the American Dream may now be a thing of the past for those without wealth.

Lower levels of home ownership – The Washington Post calls it a new normal in the American housing market. This trend has hit all of Texas’s major cities, but the city most affected may be Big D. Homeownership in the area is at 56 percent – the national average 64 percent.

Dallas Morning News’ Steve Brown, who has been covering the housing market since 1980, says the downward trend of home ownership comes down to two main factors: affordability and demographics.

“There’s a real shortage of houses,” Brown says. “Our job market and our population is growing so fast here that the housing market just can’t keep up, and that’s why price increases here are twice what they have been traditionally.”

He says there just aren’t enough houses in the Dallas market. When a house goes on the market, it’s sold quickly. And investors are buying up low- and moderately-priced houses, driving prices up.

On the demographics side of things, Brown says a lot of the new Dallas transplants are younger people, in their 20s and 30s moving for jobs.

“These people aren’t homebuyers, they’re renters,” he says. “The average homeownership age for a first-time buyer has been pushed way up into the upper 30s.”

Those younger folks also don’t want to move out to the suburbs, where new homes are being built. Millennials want to be closer to the urban core.

“The young people that are coming into take these jobs, they want to live in the urban areas, or the close-in suburbs that are having lots of job growth,” Brown says.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.