Jobs will be a key in housing rebound

It’s a message you keep hearing – jobs will be one of the driving forces for a recovering housing market. This time the messenger is Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies with its new report, “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2010.”

“If history is a guide, what happens with jobs will matter the most to the strength of the housing rebound,” said Executive Director Eric S. Belsky in a news release. “Right now, economists expect the unemployment rate to stay high, but if employment growth surprises on the upside or downside, housing numbers could too.”

This week, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) reported that the Illinois statewide unemployment rate dipped slightly in May, dropping 0.4 points to 10.8 percent.

Illinois added 16,700 jobs in May, the fifth consecutive month of job growth. Census workers account for many of the new jobs, but Illinois is also seeing significant job growth in several major industry sectors such as manufacturing, education and health services and professional and business services, according to IDES.

The Harvard report paints a picture of a housing recovery that continues to be affected by high unemployment and record foreclosures. But it also points to future trends, including an increase in housing demand by immigrants, baby boomers and their children, the echo boom generation.

According to the Harvard report:

  • The size of the echo boom generation, which is even larger than the baby boomer generation, will produce record numbers of households headed by young adults.
  • Baby boomers will drive demand for senior housing suited to active lifestyles as well as assisted living facilities in the years to come.
  • Even if the pace of immigration were to slow, the immigrant population would continue to drive strong future growth in housing demand.

Click here to read the entire State of the Nation’s Housing 2010 Report.

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