Homeownership slips to 18 year low

, Written by Jennifer Elliott, Posted: Tue, April 29 2014 at 3:57 PM, Updated: Tue, April 29 2014 at 10:30 PM

Phoenix, Ore. -- It's part of the American dream: owning a home, but a new report from the Census Bureau says home-ownership is at an eighteen year low.

"We wiped out all of our savings trying to save the house," says Phoenix resident Blanca Reyes. She owned a home for 21 years, but lost it when the economy tanked.

"It was heartbreaking, the year prior our house was appraised at $325,000.  When we put it on short-sale, it was appraised at $225,000," says Reyes.

Now Reyes is one of millions of Americans renting. The US Census Bureau reports that first quarter home-ownership is at the lowest it's been since 1995, at 64.8 percent.

Broker Alice Lema is working with Reyes in getting back into the market. Lema says there are many reasons people don't own a home. Some are scared to buy and others are living with family members and simply can't afford their own place.

"Our recovery is only 1 and a half to 2 years at the best. That homeownership number will take a while to come back," says Lema.

As a result, rental vacancy rates are also low, at 8.3 percent nationally. Lema says it's at only 1% in Southern Oregon, which keeps rent high.

"The average price in East Medford for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home is over $1200 a month," says Lema.

"We've had our kids move in. They've paid half rent which helps us put money aside, and so they can established an income to buy a house for themselves," says Reyes.

Repercussions of the 2008 recession continuing to effect millions of Americans, like Blanca Reyes.

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About the Author

Jennifer Elliott

Jennifer Elliott anchors the primetime newscast FOX26 First News at Ten on NBC5’s partner station, KMVU/FOX26. She also reports for NBC5 News.

Jennifer began her career at NBC5 News in 2011 as a production assistant. Raised in Southern Oregon, she studied voice and piano while attending South Medford High School.

After graduating from Brigham Young University-Idaho, she returned home and added organ playing to her music repertoire. In addition to her musical talents, Jennifer is an award winning artist.

She has also co-hosted Southern Oregon’s Got Talent, the area’s premiere talent show. Jennifer is married and the mother of two young sons who keep her busy and very happy.

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