Mortgage Industry CollapseRick Lazio’s op-ed  “Wanted:  A comprehensive housing strategy” published today in The Hill: 

As recently reported by the National Association of Realtors, the share of first-time homebuyers is approaching a 30-year low. But the striking absence of these buyers in the market today is not the result of shifting aspirations. Surveys consistently show that young adults, those who typically make up the bulk of first-time home purchasers, do in fact aspire to own a home.

What’s happening is that stagnating wages, high student loan debt, an insufficient supply of lower-cost “starter” homes, and excessively tight mortgage credit conditions have all conspired to make it more difficult than ever to purchase a home, particularly for those just starting out in the home-buying market.

These forces, in turn, are pushing more and more families into rental housing.  With this intensified demand, rents are skyrocketing in many communities, outpacing any corresponding gains in income. Faced with these rising rents, many young adults who hope someday to become homeowners find it virtually impossible to save for a mortgage down payment. They are caught in a vicious cycle.

In the absence of a strong and sustained public policy response, this situation will only worsen in the coming decade as two groups in particular – Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) and Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) – seek out rental housing and put upward pressure on rents.

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