Mortgage payments aren’t the only reason why many Americans are feeling financially drained. A new study entitled Stretched Thin from the Center for Housing Policy, the research affiliate of the National Housing Conference, found that large increases in a wide-variety of housing expenses like utilities, property taxes, property insurance and maintenance are having a negative impact on all households – homeowners and renters, new and longtime homeowners, and households with and without mortgages.
The study also found that all the major categories of housing expenses increased faster than incomes from 1996 to 2006. Mortgage payments increased 46 percent, utilities 43 percent, property taxes 66 percent, and property insurance 83 percent. In comparison, homeowner incomes increased by only 36 percent over the same period.
Policy recommendations provided in the study, and focused on curbing these rising expenses, include developing a more systematic approach to making buildings more energy-efficient, as well as the need to produce more affordable housing near transit and jobs.
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