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Downward Pressure on Demand for Homeownership Present in Major U.S. Housing Markets, BH&J Buy vs. Rent Index Shows


BOCA RATON, Fla. (March 11, 2019) - Many U.S. metropolitan residential real estate markets are exhibiting downward pressure on the demand for homeownership, according to the latest national index produced by Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University faculty.

“Historical evidence indicates that home prices adjust to these directional pressures,” said Ken H. Johnson, Ph.D., a real estate economist and one of the creators of the Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index in FAU’s College of Business.

BH&J Index scores approaching “1” indicate significant downward pressure on the demand for homeownership. Scores hovering around “0” indicate neutral pressure, while scores approaching “-1” imply strong upward pressure on the demand for homeownership.

Currently, 19 of the 23 metropolitan markets tracked in the index produce scores indicating slight to significant downward pressure on the demand for homeownership. Of these, three metro areas standout. Dallas (.98), Denver (.81) and Houston (.72) are all producing scores indicating significant downward pressure. Five metro areas are exhibiting signs of moderate downward pressure, including Kansas City (.38), Pittsburgh (.38), Seattle (.38), San Francisco (.37) and Miami (.36).

“While the BH&J Index measures the tradeoff between buying and renting in terms of wealth creation, it also serves as a sensor embedded in 23 of the nation’s housing markets measuring pressure on the demand for homeownership,” Johnson said.

Eleven metros (Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego and St. Louis) have BH&J scores between 0 and .30, suggesting slight to mild downward pressure on the demand for home ownership.

Four metropolitan areas are producing scores indicating slight upward pressure on the demand for homeownership – Cleveland (-.16), Chicago (-.14), New York (-.08) and Detroit (-.04).

“Relatively speaking in terms of price, these markets are the most stable in our measured group,” said Eli Beracha, Ph.D., real estate economist and co-creator of the index in the Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU.

Both Johnson and Beracha agree all signs point toward peaking housing markets around the country with the greatest current threat to housing values being uncertainty over the future of mortgage rates.

“We are in the business of information production rather than predictions,” said Johnson. “During the last housing cycle very little information was available to consumers and real estate professionals, which exacerbated the results of the downturn. Therefore, we hope to produce information that allows for more informed real estate decision making with the BH&J Index.”

The BH&J Index is published quarterly and is available online at Due to data availability and the time necessary to calculate the most current index values, the index is produced two months after the end of the quarter.

- FAU -

About Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit