Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Mass affluence

Early in the 20th century, autos in Europe and the U.S. were a plaything for the wealthy. In mid-century in the U.S., there was the "family car". Now there are more cars per household than children -- or drivers.

For 2000, the census reports that there were 133.6 million autos registered for private and commercial use and 85 million trucks also registered for private and commercial use. Many of each are, of course, dual use.

But, we do know that there were 81.2 million Americans 19 or younger in 2000. There were 104.7 households in the U.S. that year or less than 0.8 19-or-younger per household. Less than 0.6 14-or-younger per household.

But the 2001 NHTS reports 1.75 drivers per household and 1.90 personal vehicles per household. At 108.2 million households that year, this makes 205.6 million declared personal vehicles.

It's mass affluence.

The National Association of Realtors recently reported that there were 43.8 million "second homes" in the U.S. in 2003. This included 6.6 million vacation homes and 37.2 million investment units. The remaining 72.1 million were owner-occupied housing units.

Unlike the second car, the second home can be for personal as well as for investment use. For 2002, the census' analysis of vacant homes revealed that of the 14.8 million vacant units, 11.3 million were year-round vacant and many for good reason: 5.6 million were held off the market because the owners uses them occasionally, had a residence elsewhere or had some other good reason not to rent them.

Will the second home become as common as the second car? Of course. When and where? Brad Hill suggests that portfolio analyses of household wealth are where to start looking.