Demand Institute and A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities published by the Demand Institute offers some insights into the distribution of housing wealth in the United States:

It is all too easy when discussing the U.S. economic outlook to forget that it aggregates the economic prospects of thousands of different cities, towns, and villages across the nation. National statistics typically mask this local, and indeed more human, view of the country’s many distinct communities.

HOUSING is often the single most valuable and visible asset for U.S. households — and provides an incredibly powerful and accurate lens through which to assess the state of American communities. A LARGE PROPORTION OF HOUSING WEALTH is concentrated in a relatively small proportion of America’s cities and towns. Of the 2,200 we analyzed, the top 10 percent ranked by the aggregate value of their owner-occupied homes held 52 percent ($4.4 trillion) of the total housing wealth. The bottom 40 percent held just 8 percent ($700 billion).

This is a striking discovery, emphasizing the concentration of wealth and income in a relatively small number of large cities and towns. I haven’t had time to go through the document.