How the housing market has become harder since 1988

According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies’ recent 30 year retrospective, the housing market was much better for buyers in the late 1980s than it is today, especially for younger homebuyers. According to this historical data, in 1988 homes were smaller but also far more within the reach of young homebuyers. This is due to a mix of factors, including insufficient supply, heavy student loan and rent burdening, and other issues that are making a home of one’s own increasingly out of reach for countless young Americans.

Key Takeaways:

  • The US housing market has become less vibrant and affordable since 1988, according to a large body of economic data.
  • Among the major problems are an inadequate housing suppply and a heavier burden from student debt and rent.
  • Collectively, the data suggests that the dream of home ownership is more distant for today’s young adults than in 1988.

“The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies’ annual State of the Nation’s Housing report has provided a measuring stick for changes in the home and rental market in the United States, tracking the vibrancy of the rental and homebuilding market, and whether the nation was making progress on the serious issue of affordability.”

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