Whose American dream?
By Kate Berry
Vanessa Gail Perry bought her home in Silver Spring, Md., when she was 33. At the time she was working as a senior economist at Freddie Mac, earning a handsome wage and financially independent. But even so, she needed help to close the deal. “I was lucky,” said Perry, now an associate dean for faculty and professor of marketing at the George Washington University School of Business. “My parents gave me the 20% down payment, and my closing costs and fees were paid by my employer. If I hadn’t had that gift, it’s unlikely I would have been able to afford to buy. I would have been unable to qualify for a conventional loan and both the interest rate and payments would have been substantially higher and prohibitive.” … “What makes for wealth accumulation is the ability of a family to sustain and pass along wealth — it’s homeownership,” said Karen Petrou, co-founder and managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics, and author of a book to be published in March, “Engine of Inequality: The Fed and the Future of Wealth in America.” “Economic inequality is a cumulative process, and if families lose even a few years of homeownership, those are years they cannot get back.”