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Is home ownership an impossible dream?

caines | 10/11/2012, 5:30 a.m.

A quick look at the meaning of the word afford, gleaned from the World English Dictionary, tells us that it is a verb [action word] meaning to be able to do or spare something, especially without incurring financial difficulties or without risk of undesirable consequences. In other words, when we talk about our ability to afford it is a relative term because what one person can afford, another cannot. Sounds pretty simple doesnt it? Well, consider the dilemma facing many South Floridians that are employed and are able to pay their bills but cant afford to buy a house. In economic circles, these people are referred to as the workforce. And because of things like poor credit histories, wages that have remained constant, previous foreclosures even student loans that are now in default while they can pay rent on a swanky two-bedroom apartment they cannot afford to buy a home. They cannot qualify for the needed mortgage. That is even while home prices in South Florida have dropped in recent years. Communities are strengthened or weakened based upon the total amount of property taxes that are collected each year. But if more working folks must rent property as opposed to purchasing homes so that they become owners, the outcome will be fewer dollars collected in taxes for schools, for public services and other essentials. Sure there has been a surge of affordable housing for the unemployed, those living near or below the poverty level and the elderly who have already paid their dues to society and their taxes. But now we are seeing a growing class of people, working class people, that simply cannot purchase a house at least one that is within a reasonable distance of their jobs. Lets just hope that our local financial wizards, real estate gurus and community advocates can put their heads together to propose solutions. Miami we have a problem and it appears that it may get much worse before it gets better.