Homeownership rate hits 48-year low

by Ryan Smith29 Jul 2015
The U.S. homeownership rate hit a 48-year low in the second quarter despite record sales, according to data from the Census Bureau.

The rate of homeownership in the United States fell to 63.4% in the second quarter, its lowest level since 1967. That’s down from 63.7% last quarter and 64.7% in the second quarter of 2014. Homeownership rates were lowest in the west at 58.5% and highest in the Midwest at 68.4%.

Vacancy rates, meanwhile, remained low. National vacancy rates in the second quarter were 6.8% for rental housing and 1.8% for homeowner housing, according to HousingWire. The rental vacancy rate was down 0.7 percentage points from the second quarter of 2014 and 0.3 percentage points lower than last quarter, while the homeowner vacancy rate dropped 0.1% from the rate in Q2 of 2014.

“The flipside of such strong rental demand is that the homeownership rate fell once again in the second quarter,” Ed Stansfield, chief property economist at Capital Economics, told HousingWire. “This suggests that homeownership has not kept pace with the cyclical rebound in household formation which is now underway, and gives weight to the idea that first-time buyers in particular are still struggling to gain a foothold in the market. However, foreclosure rates are declining steadily, employment and incomes are growing at a healthy pace and credit conditions are gradually loosening. What’s more, there is no evidence of a fundamental shift in homeownership aspirations. Accordingly, we expect that the homeownership rate will soon find a floor.” 


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