How the Financial Crisis Reshaped the American Dream

August 31, 2018
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Photo: Unsplash/Robbie Noble

In a new longform piece, data journalist Jeff Andrews assesses the 10 years following the financial crisis of the last decade, what's different in today's market, and where that leaves the American Dream of homeownership. 

One difference is the availability of credit in mortgage lending. Prior to the housing crisis, supply far outweighed demand, causing lenders to "issue loans to anyone who could fog a mirror just to fill the excess inventory," but today's stricter lending practices are such that some industry professionals claim buyers are being kept unnecessarily off the market, and is contributing to the current inventory shortage, writes Andrews for Curbed. “We’re really in a hangover phase,” says Jonathan Miller, CEO of real estate consulting firm Miller Samuel, “Just because prices are rising doesn’t mean we’ve recovered. [The market] is still distorted, and that’s because of credit conditions.”

The economy is booming. The stock market regularly hits new all-time highs. Unemployment is at record lows. Aside from a small recent downturn, the housing market is as hot as ever. In many ways, the world has moved on from the cataclysmic 2008 financial crisis, triggered when sloppy mortgage lending popped the massive U.S. housing bubble. But the scars of the crisis are still visible in the American housing market, which has undergone a pendulum swing in the last decade.

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