If you live in or have recently visited one of America’s larger cities, you may have noticed that the homeless problem has grown in recent years.

A 2018 analysis by real estate data company Zillow showed that while the level of homelessness has declined nationally — down 13 percent over the past eight years, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — rates of homelessness are growing quickly in large metropolitan areas with high housing costs, such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

A recent home affordability report published by ATTOM Data Solutions revealed that median residential home sale prices were too high for the average U.S. worker to afford in about three-quarters of the nation’s real estate markets.

Take Los Angeles, for example. According to the California Housing Partnership Coalition, workers need to earn almost $50 an hour to afford the median monthly rent of $2,471.

In Chicago, among the 86,000 people who experienced homelessness in 2017, about 18,000 had a college education and more than 13,000 had jobs — illustrating that the problem is frequently less about accountability and more about affordability.4

There are several ways to gauge today’s real estate market. On the one hand, homeowners with significant equity may be sitting on an asset that can help fund their retirement if they take advantage of high real estate sale prices today. On the other hand, let’s say you sell your home — where will you live? For people actively planning for retirement in the next few years, it’s worth thinking about your long-term housing needs. The time could be right to downsize in preparation for retirement while you can command a robust price and then reposition a portion of your assets for long-term financial security.

Of course, selling your home for top dollar doesn’t exactly help solve America’s homeless problem — although it may help prevent you from having housing issues down the road.

In late June, President Trump signed an executive order designed to eliminate a multitude of regulatory barriers that hinder the development of affordable housing. His objective is to address restrictions on zoning and growth management, rent control, building and rehabilitation codes, energy and water efficiency mandates, maximum-density allowances, historic preservation requirements, and wetland and environmental regulations.

The president also signed a bill into law that enables military veterans to borrow above the current cap of $484,350 (for most counties) without a down payment.

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.

1 Megan Cerullo. CBS News. Dec. 11, 2018. “Homelessness on the rise in some U.S. cities.” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/homelessness-on-the-rise-in-some-u-s-cities/. Accessed July 23, 2019.

2 Alexandre Tanzi. Bloomberg. June 26, 2019. “Homebuying Difficult for Americans in Three-Fourths of Markets.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-27/homebuying-difficult-for-americans-in-three-fourths-of-markets. Accessed July 5, 2019.

3 Jamie Yuccas. CBS News. July 5 2019. “ ‘There’s no way out of this’: Lack of affordable housing contributes to Los Angeles homeless crisis.” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/homeless-population-los-angeles-county-california-rises-2019-07-05/. Accessed July 5, 2019.

4 Peter Nickeas. Chicago Tribune. July 2, 2019. “Thousands of Chicago’s homeless have jobs, some college education, contrary to stereotypes, new study says.” https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-chicago-homeless-study-myths-20190702-wtmsehe6ffayxjdbpi3sjav3oq-story.html. Accessed July 23, 2019.

5 White House. June 25, 2019. “Executive Order Establishing a White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.” https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-establishing-white-house-council-eliminating-regulatory-barriers-affordable-housing/. Accessed July 5, 2019.

6 Jessica Guerin. Housing Wire. June 26, 2019. “Bill eliminating VA loan cap signed into law.” https://www.housingwire.com/articles/49421-bill-eliminating-va-loan-cap-signed-into-law. Accessed July 5, 201.

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