Home ownership, a critical key to economic stability across all demographics, is falling faster for low-income residents of Benton County while Franklin County has seen its rate soar.
Home ownership in the U.S. has generally been on the decline since peaking in 2005, shortly before the housing-led economic crash of 2008. It stood at about 66.4 percent for Benton and Franklin counties, down from a pre-recession high of 71.5 percent.
Income plays a major role, according to this week’s Benton-Franklin Trends. Trends is an initiative of the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis at Eastern Washington. Each week, it produces reviews of the area’s economic, educational and civic health.
This week’s report follows a recent larger look at local home ownership trends.
The report paints a clear picture that ownership depends on which side of the Columbia River you live on.
For the region, the home ownership rate for low-income households fell more than 17.3 percent between 2005 and 2014, landing at 40.5 percent. The decline was driven purely by a 30 percent drop in Benton County. The ownership rate for low-income households in Franklin County showed substantial gains.
37.8% (30% decline) Benton County
47.9%(18% increase) Franklin County
Trends offered one positive view for lower-income households. Thanks to lower ownership costs in the Tri-Cities, ownership rates here are higher than average for Washington overall, 40.5 percent versus 39.2 percent for the state.
Nationally, the ownership rate for low-income households stood at 43.7 percent.
Trends produces reports from state and federal data. Its ownership review is based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. It is online at bit.ly/BFTrends.