Home ownership hits 19-year low

Home ownership has fallen to its lowest level in nearly two decades as rising prices and mortgage rates strangle demand

Home ownership hits 19-year low
Home ownership has plummeted to its lowest level in almost 19 years as rising home mortgage rates and housing prices strangle demand, according to the Census Bureau.

According to the Census Bureau’s numbers, 64.8% of Americans owned their own homes in the first quarter, down from 65.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013. That’s the lowest rate since the second quarter of 1995, when 64.7% of Americans owned their homes.

“The homeownership rate is held back by slow job growth, tight mortgage credit and declining affordability,” Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko said in a Bloomberg interview. “We’ll see it stay around this level for some time.”

“Homeownership is one of the most important paths to the middle class for families. It's how folks put down roots, build wealth put kids through college, start businesses," Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told CNBC. “If there are people who are ready to buy a home, but who aren't getting access to credit, then we've got a problem, and that is what we are facing right now.”

The home ownership rate peaked at 69.2% in 2004, according to Bloomberg.