While home prices are on the rise and the housing recovery appears to be ongoing, the pace of new construction remains at levels synonymous with recessions, and home ownership rates remain at historically low levels. Wall Street Journal staffer Laura Kusisto reports on a lopsided housing recovery that has left million of Americans unable to own homes.

The effects of this lack of home ownership are widespread:

That, in turn, can ripple throughout the economy. Homeowners often use home equity to pay for college tuition, vacations or home renovations, all of which help boost consumer spending. The mere knowledge that home values are rising can make consumers comfortable spending money other places, a process known as the wealth effect.

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