June 10, 2000
Housing markets began the twentyfirst century on a high note. Buoyed by the longest economic expansion in history, home sales, homeownership rates, and the value of residential construction all set new records in 1999. And thanks to strong income growth, housing affordability remained in check for most Americans despite rising interest rates, home prices, and rents. Widespread home price inflation continues to lift household net worth. The stock market boom notwithstanding, home equity remains the cornerstone of household wealth—even among most American homeowners who also have stock holdings. In the midst of this remarkable prosperity, however, the homeownership gap between whites and minorities has hardly narrowed. Even worse, millions of very low-income households still lack adequate, affordable housing at a time when losses of subsidized units are rising.
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