During Homeownership Month, the National Association of REALTORS® is shedding light on the invaluable role of REALTORS® in assisting millions of Americans in achieving their dream of homeownership. Owning a home not only contributes to financial security but also has a substantial impact on improving net worth. Research indicates that the net worth of a typical homeowner is nearly 40 times that of a non-owner, with home equity and retirement accounts accounting for over 60% of households' net worth. Over the past decade alone, middle-income homeowners have accumulated approximately $122,000 in wealth through price appreciation. However, the current state of the residential real estate market presents a significant challenge, as there is a historic shortage of affordable homes for sale. A comprehensive study commissioned by NAR revealed a staggering "underbuilding gap" of 5.5 million housing units developed over the past 20 years, resulting in a shortfall of $4.4 trillion in housing investment. This scarcity of available homes has severely limited homeownership opportunities for many Americans. Currently, there are only 280,000 affordable homes listed for sale, a significant decline from 450,000 homes in 2019. The situation is particularly dire for middle-income households, with only one affordable listing available for every 125 households, compared to one listing for every 46 households in 2019. This scarcity is evident in the declining percentage of single-family homes sold below $250,000, dropping from 47% of sales to 28% over the past two years. REALTORS® in Washington State, therefore, face the challenge of navigating a highly competitive market with limited affordable housing options, emphasizing the importance of their expertise in helping clients find suitable homeownership opportunities.
During the legislative session, Washington REALTORS® took proactive steps to address the pressing issue of affordable housing in the state. Recognizing that Washington ranks last in the number of housing units per family nationwide and that homeownership has become increasingly unattainable for many families, the association sought to make housing policy a priority. To garner support from the Legislature, Washington REALTORS® partnered with Amazon and launched the "Welcome Home" campaign. This initiative mobilized thousands of members and consumers to reach out to lawmakers and advocate for REALTOR®-backed bills. Through persistent advocacy efforts, the Washington REALTORS® Legislative Team successfully championed bills that will not only benefit real estate businesses but also assist future clients in achieving homeownership and provide much-needed affordable housing solutions for those in dire need.
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