Your Letters: Gen X Homeownership Woes

Homes and homeownership were a huge topic of discussion among our listeners this week. Many wrote in response to our reports on the real estate market, including a conversation with NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax on the impact of the housing slump on Generation Xers. Host Audie Cornish reads from listener comments about this story and more.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Time now for your letters. Homes and home ownership were a huge topic of discussion. Many listeners wrote in response to our reports last week on the real estate market, including a conversation with NPR senior business editor Marilyn Geewax on the impact of the housing slump on Gen-Xers.

MARILYN GEEWAX, BYLINE: Say you were 30 years old in 2006. If you bought the typical house then, it was the peak of the bubble, you paid about $250,000. Now, you're in your mid-30s and your house has dropped in value by a third.

CORNISH: Listener Susan Park writes: As a Gen-Xer, I have broken even on my starter and second house - until this last time. Now, I rent and I will never, and don't want to, buy a house again. But some of you saw this as a market correction. Matt Hirsch left a comment on our website, writing: The housing market was out of control, plain and simple. The boomers benefited from that; some Xers benefited, some Xers did not. The reality is we are pushing something - homeownership. That doesn't actually benefit everyone. You know who it benefits most? Banks and government, due to interest and taxes on sales. In that same segment, NPR's Cheryl Corley told the story of how the sluggish economy turned frustrated home sellers into reluctant landlords.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: My first being a landlord turned into a nightmare. I just assumed everyone would be a good renter. I approached it in a very naive fashion.

CORNISH: Jennifer McGregor writes: While I recognize that reluctant landlords may find some truly horrible renters, it seems just as likely to me that these landlords do not realize what it means to be a good landlord. In order to benefit from the cover of your mortgage, you must provide a service to the person paying you. If the renter is paying the amount of your mortgage, shouldn't he or she also receive a benefit? McGregor continues: I agree with the other responders who recommend landlords hire professional rental management companies. Not only might it prevent reluctant landlords from being taken advantage by bad renters, it will prevent these potentially bad landlords from victimizing good tenants. Well, the debate continues on this program and others on NPR. And if you want to weigh in on this and other stories, you can reach us at NPR.org. Just click on the Contact Us link. We're on Facebook and Twitter: @NPRWeekend. And I'm on Twitter: @NPRAudie.

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