If the housing market is so healthy, why aren’t there more homeowners?

FILE- In this April 23, 2018, file photo advertising signs point out completed new homes, homes under construction as well as lots for new homes in Glen Allen, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

It has been a decade since the housing market collapse, and comparing then and now makes it clear how bad things actually got back then.

“Delinquency rates were around 10% a decade ago. Now they are down to just under 2.5%. That is a significant decline,” Tendayi Kapfidze at LendingTree told WTOP.

“There are far fewer people who are losing their homes now because of not being able to afford their mortgages,” Kapfdize said.

Mortgage rates are much lower than they were 10 years ago.

Even so, the homeownership rate remains stuck below where it was when things in the housing market started to go bad. For many former homeowners, it has become a Catch-22.

“A lot of people who were able to afford a home because lenders were much more willing to lend to people with lower credit scores, many of those people unfortunately ended up losing their homes to foreclosure, and have not been able to re-enter the housing market because lending standards have gotten tighter,” Kapfidze said.

For those who do own, the value of their home has increased considerably.

Home equity has gone from a low of $8.2 trillion in 2012, to $18.7 trillion as of the end of 2019.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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