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Seven years after the Great Recession, the housing environment has evolved into a significantly lopsided affair, according to the new study “The Uneven Housing Recovery” from the Center for American Progress (CAP), a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C.
The report was authored by Michela Zonta, a senior policy analyst for CAP’s housing policy team, and Sarah Edelman, CAP’s director of housing policy.
The report identifies negative equity as “one of the principal challenges to an economic recovery at both the local and national levels,” noting that the costs carried by homeowners is shared by local economies where consumers are unable to spend on goods and services or invest in businesses or their children’s education. However, this problem is not shared by every market—the report found nearly 1,000 counties had “either stagnating or increasing percentages of underwater homes” while struggling counties were mostly in rural and “nonmetropolitan” areas.
One problem that was mostly shared across the U.S. was the lack of affordable renting options. “It is a growing problem for the large majority of counties as a result of the pressure on the rental market generated by the foreclosure crisis,” the report stated.
The CAP put forth several strategies for counties that have yet to experience a full recovery, including a new push by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to “promote neighborhood stabilization efforts and foreclosure prevention” and an effort by Congress to “support the development of affordable rental housing programs that provide local governments with sufficient resources to help meet local rental affordability challenges” while defining new “policy interventions” to assist ailing rural markets.