The housing crisis didn’t hit all professions equally. In fact, construction workers and builders are the only group who increased their rate of home ownership in the years after the recession, new research shows.
In an analysis of over 70 different professions before and after the recession (2007 to 2009, vs. 2010 to 2012), home ownership among construction workers rose 1 percentage point to 55.4% — the highest growth of any profession — and increased 0.7 percentage points to 65.4% among carpenters during the same period, according to real-estate website Trulia, which mined U.S. Census data for the statistics. Home ownership among electricians remained steady at 75% before and after the recession, the study found.
Construction workers did especially well, given the crash in the property market after 2008, says Susan M. Wachter, professor of real estate and finance at Wharton University of Pennsylvania. “The only sectors that saw growth are groups that have access to bargains and distressed housing and have the expertise to fix them up,” she says. Others are more perplexed by the increase among laborers, especially since they were among the hardest-hit professionals when the housing market crashed in 2008. “It’s certainly ironic,” says Don Frommeyer, president of the National Association of Mortgage Professionals, which represents mortgage brokers. Still, he says, the recovery in the housing market in 2013 should be of some consolation to those who are ready to get back on the property ladder.