Tuesday, July 28, 2020

A miracle homeownership boom!

According to the Census Bureau, homeownership shot up by 2.6% just this quarter!  Normally, that amount of change would take a decade or more.

Vacancies also declined sharply.

According to the estimate of total housing inventory, there were 4.8 million more homeowners in the second quarter than there were in the first quarter.  To put that in perspective, the National Association of Realtors estimates that there were a bit over a million homes sold in the second quarter.

The Census report on homeownership and vacancy includes a warning about changes in their methods of data collection due to the coronavirus.  It seems likely that a lot of renters did not respond to phone interview requests, and somewhere along the lines, the statistical methods for estimating total population went haywire, and we basically don't know anything about how homeownership and vacancies changed during the quarter.

There is a lot about the country we really don't know.  It is hard to know exactly how many people are in a real financial bind and what they are doing about it.  We are flying blind, which is why we need to err on the side of generosity in public safety net provisions right now, and do everything we can to reduce the contagion risks ASAP.

8 comments:

  1. Well, great post, but I think we need to end the lockdowns ASAP, and take our chances. Pray for the cavalry (the vaccines). Declare payroll tax holidays, send out checks, and hope riots dissipate, not get worse.

    The remarkable thing is, even now the markets say inflation is dead.

    Indonesia is going to money-financed fiscal programs, and no reaction from markets.

    I wish I could understand macroeconomics...I need a theory, like a life-raft, to hang onto, even it if does not explain the storm.

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