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How much do you know about housing?

From the Ground Up

If you would like to see the big-picture view of housing in the United States, I urge you to get a copy of “The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2004,” published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. It is chock-full of useful data, some of which I will present in the form of a multiple choice quiz.

So take the test, and then pass it around the office to see how much your colleagues know about the state of the nation’s housing.

1. What is the current home ownership rate?

a. 47.9%

b. 57.9%

c. 67.9%

2. How many new single family home sales (units) were there in 2003?

a. 520,000

b. 973,000

c. 1.1 million

3. What was the average sale price of a new single family home in 2003?

a. $105,000

b. $155,000

c. $195,000

4. Foreign-born immigrant households are a majority in only one metro area in the United States. Is it:

a. New York

b. Los Angeles

c. Miami

5. Listed are 10 metro areas. Five had rental increases and 5 had a decrease in effective rental rates when comparing 4th quarter of 2003 to 4th quarter of 2002. Identify the metros that had a declining rental market rates.


Portland, Ore.


San Jose, Calif.


Los Angeles


Middlesex, N.Y.

Riverside, Calif.


6. What percent of single-family mortgage loans were securitized and sold in the secondary mortgage market?

a. 39%

b. 49%

c. 59%

7. What was the percentage increase in mortgage refinancing in 2003 versus 2002?

a. 23.2%

b. 50.1%

c. 71.4%

8. In which metro area did the number of building permits issued between 1990 and 2002 nearly equal the number of housing units that existed in 1990?

a. Austin

b. Charlotte

c. Las Vegas

And the answers are…

The correct answer to questions Nos. 1-4 and Nos. 6-8 is “C.” Regarding question No. 5, the first four metro areas listed had declining rental rates.

For a copy of the report, contact:
Joint Center for Housing
Studies at Harvard University
1033 Massachusetts Ave, 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138

Or go online to www.jchs.harvard.edu/.

Phil Hardwick’s column on Mississippi Business appears regularly in the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is phil@philhardwick.com.


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