Shelter is one of our basic human needs. A home protects us from the elements and predators, provides a sense of well-being and intimacy, and secures our social status in the community. In many ways, a house or shelter represents and defines the quality of life we experience.
Unfortunately, housing costs are the single greatest expense for an average family, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2015, housing costs represented 19.1% of total household expenditures in 2015. That figure doesn’t even include related expenses including property taxes, insurance, or utilities.
For generations, purchasing a home was considered almost risk-free, the value of the home certain to grow over time. Many Americans discovered in the 2008-2009 recession that home prices could decline. According to the National Center of Policy Analysis, more American families lost their homes in 2008 (10 million) than in the 1930s Depression and Dust Bowl.
Affordability should be the primary factor in determining the place and size of your home. Here are some actionable tips to help keep your costs down.
Reducing Your Major Housing Costs
Controlling your housing costs is essential if you want to live within your means. The following tips will help you manage the expense.
Americans have been engaged in a great ideological war over the role of government since the founding of the nation, and the latest skirmish regards the future role of the government in housing. Since the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, the warring parties have become increasingly entrenched and unwilling to compromise in the name of ideological purity. As a consequence, the future regulatory and economic environments affecting the housing and mortgage industries, related industries, and citizens is uncertain.
The Republican goal is to eliminate any government role in the mortgage market (other than through the direct guarantees provided by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rural housing programs), while the intention of the Democrats is that federal support of the mortgage market be continued to encourage broad homeownership for all citizens. It is around these conflicting aims that the issues revolve.
Two partisan views
As a result of the mortgage security meltdown in 2008, significant taxpayer costs, and the subsequent recession that many contend continues today, members of both political parties agree that drastic reform of the mortgage finance industry is needed. However, each party has proposed a different approach based upon its political philosophy.