U.S. Real Estate Market Statistics

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development indicates that residential home ownership as a percentage of the total U.S. population has declined from a high point of 68.9% in 2005 to 64.5% in 2014, which represents a continued decline even since the end of the Economic Recession, which started in 2009, and is now below the rate of 64.8% last recored in 1995. The lowest rate was recorded in the West (59.2%) in 2014, and the highest rate (69.0%) was recorded in the Midwest.   http://www.huduser.org/portal/ushmc/hi_HOR.html

In response to the decline in home ownership, and the requirement that individuals must reside somewhere, the national Annual Rental Vacancy Rate has been decreasing from a high of 10.6% in 2009 to 8.3% in 2014.   http://www.huduser.org/portal/ushmc/hi_RentVac.html

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintain a the Location Affordability Index, which is a cost calculation tool that allows users to estimate housing and transportation costs for neighborhoods across the country. The combined expenses of transportation and housing are usually the two largest expenses a family incurs on a monthly basis. Traditionally, it has been followed by many consumers, financial institutions, and government agencies, that a family should expend no more than 30% of income toward housing expense (which mirrors federal guidelines on public housing as established by the Brooke Amendment in 1969). However, this minimal analysis exlcudes other expenses related to residing in a certain city or part of the country. As residential property prices and rents have increased after the Economic Recession, and incomes have remained flat, affordability and residual income have become an issue: many U.S. citizens spend closer to 50.0% of income on housing, and less is available for transportation and other expenses.   http://www.locationaffordability.info/

Demand for single-family housing units has improved since the end of the Economic Recession when measured by housing permits, increasing from a low of 582,963 permits in 1,039,619 permits issued in 2014, but still well below the high point of 2,155,316 permits issued in 2004. The low point reached in 2010 was the lowest incurred since records go back to 1968, and the number of permits issued in 2014 is now just exceeding previous low points incurred in 1991, 1981, and 1975.   http://www.huduser.org/portal/ushmc/hs_sfm.html

New home sales have only slightly rebounded since the end of the Economic Recession, increasing from a low point of approximately 306,000 units sold in 2011 to 437,000 units sold in 2014, which is well below the high point of 1.28 million new homes sold in 2005. The result for 2014 is only just above the previous low point of 412,000 units sold in 1962.   http://www.huduser.org/portal/ushmc/hd_home_sales.html

The national Median New Home Price has continued to increase after only a decrease to $216,700 in 2009 from the previous high point of $247,900 in 2007, ending 2014 with an median price of $283,600.   http://www.huduser.org/portal/ushmc/hd_home_prices.html

Historically, residential investment (home construction) as a percentage of GDP has been 4.6% in the United States. However, as recently as the 2nd Quarter 2015, that percentage has been 3.6%, which is an improvement from below 3.0% experienced during the Economic Recession. When the percentage is below the historical average, it signals a continued business expansion. The expansion in housing will require additional carpenters / construction workers, which are in short supply. The percentage will also influence how agressive the Federal Reserve will be in increasing the Federal Funds interest rate.