While a good bit of home buying is driven by consumers looking for more space and less crowds, in this Business Insider piece, soaring housing prices are being blamed for climate change, income inequality, and declining birth rates. Furthermore the lack of opportunity for Americans to own a house is the biggest driver of income inequality.
Ownership of a home allows people to profit from its rising value and tap their equity in the property when they need extra cash. Failure to purchase a home doesn't just lock Americans out of those benefits, it leaves them stuck paying landowners in monthly rent.
Shoring up home supply and allowing for denser construction could directly level the playing field, economists Sam Bowman and Ben Southwood wrote for the Works in Progress online magazine, with housing advocate John Myers.
"Increasing the supply of housing and commercial space, while ensuring that it benefits existing residents, could turn this zero-sum situation into one where everyone can be better off," they added.
Where affordable housing allows Americans to start families and grow their households, expensive housing can delay such plans. And the lack of affordable homes might already be affecting birth rates.