The Census Bureau has found that home ownership in the Greater Cincinnati area is down sharply from 2010, with two-thirds of people living here now renting.
In the 15-county Cincinnati region, homeownership decreased 5.4 percent from 2010 and 2014. Hamilton County saw a 7.2 percent decline while Butler County saw a drop of 4.2 percent. In Northern Kentucky, results were down as well: Boone and Campbell counties had drops of 4.2 percent and 2.8 percent respectively, while Kenton County had a 7.1 percent decline in homeownership. Data was not available for the other 10 counties in the metro area.
“Homeownership among some groups of the population has lost its appeal,” said Shaun Bond, director of the University of Cincinnati’s Real Estate Center. “People had negative experiences during the foreclosure crisis. There’s also a view among people, even if they didn’t lose a home, that homeownership isn’t worth the effort.”
The decrease in homeownership is a trend seen nationwide. Homeownership decreased 3.5 percent nationally between 2010 and 2014, the Census estimates show.
The new homeownship numbers are part of the 2014 American Community Survey one-year estimates, which were released Thursday. The ongoing survey by the U.S. Census Bureau samples around 3.5 million addresses each year and collects data on a wide range of demographic, social, economic and housing characteristics. Then, the Census Bureau publishes annual estimates for small geographic areas and population groups.
The new estimates show that nearly two of every three Cincinnati residents (or 64.1 percent) were renters in 2014, up from 57.6 percent in 2010.
Bond said the the decrease of homeownership in the city can be credited to two factors: The city is lagging in recovering from the Great Recession, and there is a change in lifestyle preferences among homebuyers and renters.
“For many people, renting makes a lot of sense,” he said. “There are younger people who are developing their career, people who have to move for work, or people who don’t want to own a home. It’s a growth of renters by choice. It’s not because they can’t afford a house.”
The first factor is definitely a problem, and part of the reason why black households in Cincinnati are doing so terribly. The second factor is due to the new normal in job seeking. People don't buy houses if they don't think they'll be working for the same company in five years, and spoilers, the majority of American workers won't be with our current employer five years from now, if we're even employed by a company at all.
So yes, I see home ownership dropping even further in the future. Who will be able to afford a 30-year mortgage when you may have to change jobs and change states every three to five years?
That's where the next housing bubble and collapse is going to start, and I think we're seeing it starting to happen now.