Older population, minorities likely to lead housing growth

REAL ESTATE WATCH

January 12, 2003

The growth in housing during the coming decade will be fueled by an older population, increased minority homeownership and households with fewer children.

Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac, the No. 2 buyer of U.S. mortgages, told a gathering of builders and other industry representatives last week that the housing market should remain sound because of low mortgage rates and an expanding population. But he said the face of housing will change during the next 10 years.

Among his predictions, which are based on data from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies:

Aging baby boomers will drastically increase the number of households headed by someone who is age 55 or older. The group made up 35 percent of all households in 2000.

Minorities will account for two-thirds of the growth in share of households. In 2000, the minority share of all households nationwide was 25 percent.

About three-quarters of new households will be headed by singles or married couples without children. The group's share of households was 55 percent in 2000.

Nothaft said households with two parents and children will account for a quarter of households through 2010, the share the group had in 2000.

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