Saturday, October 19, 2013


Johann Wagener 10-19-13

A part of the "American Dream" is owning your own home. People like to think that, because they live in a home and send a check to the bank/mortgage company every month and not a land lord owned/apartment that they "own" their homes and most surveys will be answered that way.

This hoax has been played on Americans ever since they left England; which, by the way is much more upfront about it as the following set of numbers point out;

An estimated 160,000 families own 70% of the land in England, according to 2012 estimates
. This ownership rate is equivalent to less than 1% of the total population. The history of such a limited portion of the English population being landowners is thought to date to 1067, when William the Conqueror claimed all land as monarch property and then distributed it to his allies. Land in England is generally kept among the aristocratic families and handed down each generation, rather than being sold.

More about land ownership:

The British government's Forestry Commission is the largest landowner in England, with more 2.5 million acres (1.1 million hectares), which is about 4% of the country.

The Earth is estimated to have about 36.8 billion acres (14.9 billion hectares) of land. As of 2011, 21% of the world's land was owned by just 15 individuals.

Queen Elizabeth II of England technically owned the largest amount of land in 2011 — 6.6 billion acres (2.7 hectares) — because she rules the British Commonwealth, including Australia and Canada.

It may work differently in the US, but the results are very much the same. For those who like to think that we are better off than our parents and their parents, these numbers will be disappointing and eye-opening. 

One of the oddest pieces hitting my e-mail box in the last few days is regarding an analysis of homeownership and the number of Americans that supposedly own their homes free and clear. The slant is odd because Americans are massively in debt with mortgages and more have gone into deep debt withFHA insured loans that require only 3.5 percent down. These loans went from a tiny portion of the market to a dominant force over the last five years. The research starts out by pointing out that nearly 30 percent of Americans own their homes free and clear. Okay. But that isn’t something new. In fact, in 2000 the rate was 30 percent and in 1990 and 1980 it was at 35 percent, in 1970 it was 39 percent, and in 1960 it was up to 42 percent. Of course none of this is listed in the analysis because hey, everyone owns their home free and clear right? In fact, the official figure is 29.3 percent so it actually is at the lowest on record when looking at data going back to 1960. The numbers are what they are but it is interesting how people viewed this as some kind of dynamic shift. Let us dig into the actual figures.

First, let us examine the actual figures from Census data. How many people really own their homes free and clear?