November 03, 2022
This time, the NYT is telling us how hard it is for young people and minorities to buy homes now that mortgage interest rates have shot through the roof. The timing is interesting, not only because it is five days before the election, but the article comes the day after the Census Bureau released data for the third quarter on homeownership.
The Census Bureau data gives a picture that is 180 degrees at odds with the NYT story. If we look at homeownership rates for young people (under the age of 35), they are up 1.7 percentage points from before the pandemic, rising from 37.6 percent to 39.3 percent.
The Black homeownership rate rose from 44.0 percent, to 45.2 percent, an increase of 1.2 percentage points. The Hispanic homeownership rate rose by 0.6 percentage points from 48.1 percent to 48.7 percent. And, the homeownership rate for households with income below the median rose 1.3 percentage points from 51.4 percent to 52.7 percent.
In short, we have seen an extraordinary rise in homeownership rates for less advantaged groups in the last two and a half years. But the NYT thought it was important to tell us that young people and minorities are having trouble buying homes now, five days before the election.
To be clear, 7.0 percent mortgage rates will make it difficult for many low- and middle-income people to buy homes, there is little doubt about that. But the rise in mortgage interest rates is a relatively recent story and no one knows how long it will persist.
If the NYT wanted to do a piece pointing out that a period of rapidly rising homeownership for disadvantaged group had come to an end, that would have been a useful and informative story. This piece is not.