Cool cities to live in and low home-ownership rates

Our friend Rob Chrisman talks about “cool cities” to live in and low home-ownership rates

Lenders are certainly watching trends in the market, and theories on lending: rent versus buy, millennial homeownership, and urban versus suburban.  My imagination runs wild when I read stories like this. For starters, I love the idea of so-called “second tier cities” becoming the “cool” place to be. In the digital age, we can start companies anywhere and attract employees on culture and building their own lives. I think this is great for cities like St. Louis and Pittsburgh mentioned in the piece, but also Charlotte, Detroit, Hartford, and Milwaukee.

Lenders also start to salivate when they read things like “Nationally, home ownership is near a 48-year low.”  Not because that’s good news but because it feels like we’re so close to a surge. It feels like opportunity.  Along those lines, there is a massive conversation going on in the country right now about what we want our communities to look like, how opportunity should unfold for all Americans, and what that means for jobs and the economy. Depending on how that turns, coupled with low interest rates, we have the potential for a perfect storm of growth. Admittedly, there are some significant challenges and hurdles, but it almost feels like there is an undercurrent of transformation that means good things for all people including an expansion of economic opportunity.

Many experts believe, however, that the biggest threat to this expansion is the gap between rich and poor – that we cannot grow all our communities and return home ownership to a 48 year high without including everyone in the growth. Increased cost(s), whether that’s regulatory burden or limited access to credit, is also a threat to this expansion. Hopefully, we can continue to encourage the creative thinking associated with the success of technology companies recently and apply it across the board in many (if not all) industries.