Julian Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, wants to extend the American dream to everyone by making it more affordable to own a home.
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In an exclusive interview with the FOX Business Network’s Countdown to the Closing Bell, Castro said there must be a strong balance between lessons learned from the housing crisis and the ability to provide greater opportunities for responsible homeowners.
“We can make it more affordable but also ensure that the safeguards that have been put in place stay so that we don’t slide back to where we were ten years ago. [We need to provide] greater opportunities for folks who are responsible, who can pay on a mortgage to be able to buy a home,” Castro said.
The homeownership rate in the U.S. has declined to its lowest level since 1965, driven by Millennials who are burden by debt and low paying jobs. According to second-quarter figures from the Census Bureau, the U.S. homeownership rate dropped to 62.9%.
Despite the lackluster numbers, the HUD secretary sees an avenue of optimism for future Millennial homeowners.
“While it’s true that that age group is not buying a home at the same rate that they were let’s say in 2005 and 2006, it’s also true that from 2012, 2013, 2014, we have been seen an increase and we are not just sitting around. We are also trying to ensure we do our own part,” Castro told host Liz Claman.
He stressed the importance of a growing economy and higher wages to sustain the housing market.
“Just last week, the Census Bureau reported that more folks are earning more. The benefits of this growing economy are reaching out from the middle out. They are lifting everybody up for the first time in a while; wages are growing that’s very important,” he said.