The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University just released "The State of the Nation's Housing 2011." The annual examination of housing, homeownership and rental figures painted a pretty bleak picture for the home building industry. The summary of the report suggests that the housing industry recovery is more or less tied directly to the nation's ability to create jobs.
2011's report is not terribly unlike 2010's, which reported fewer new homes started in 2009 than in any year since WWII and a large downturn in the remodeling market.
The latest report indicates that the national homeownership rate fell below 67 percent, down 2 percent from 69 percent in 2004.
Although it also showed that more households were able to afford monthly payments at 28 percent of their income in 2010 over 2007 (up to 70.8 million from 48.2 million), that affordability statistic goes hand in hand with the drop in home prices, which has also doomed many households to living "under water."
In short, it still could be a long road ahead. Let's hope the powers that be continue to focus their attention on the economic recovery of our country.