By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

foreclosure noticeThe subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 changed how Americans think of homeownership and continues to haunt the housing market, contributing to a housing shortage in many areas of the country.

According to the National Association of Realtors, less than a third of families who lost homes to foreclosure in the past 10 years will return to homeownership. Stricter lending standards and fewer affordable homes, along with rapidly increasing student loan debt, are combining to make it difficult if not impossible to buy a home today.

“Owning a home is the primary way families build wealth to secure their retirement and pass on money to their children,” notes Tommy Andres, special projects producer at Marketplace, “which means the decline in homeownership could have effects that last for generations.”

There are still more than five million homes worth less than what their owners paid for them, Andres writes, and “that means even though foreclosures hit their lowest level in a decade this year, more than nine percent of American homeowners are still in peril.”

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