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Homeownership level expected to decline

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The U.S. homeownership rate remained relatively stable at 65.5% in the most recent second quarter, but analysts looking ahead foresee a country with falling homeownership rates as lending rules tighten, delinquencies rise and new foreclosures pop up across the country.

Data from the Department of Commerce Census Bureau shows the 65.5% homeownership rate in 2Q as being 0.4 percentage points lower than the year ago rate of 65.9% and 0.1 percentage points higher than the first quarter rate of 65.4%.

A new research report from Tim Rood, an analyst with business advisory firm The Collingwood Group, estimates that homeownership levels will continue to decline as credit opportunities lesson and more home owners fall into foreclosure.

Rood said all of these factors continue to hit minority neighborhoods the hardest.

"Delinquencies and foreclosures continue to sustain higher rates for African American and Hispanic borrowers as compared to white borrowers," Rood wrote. He even cites data from the American Association of Retired Persons, which shows the rate of 90-plus day delinquencies and foreclosures for minority borrowers as being double that of Caucasians and Asians.

Rood estimates two million new foreclosures will hit the housing market in the coming years, pushing the homeownership rate below current levels. With refinancing volumes up through the Home Affordable Refinance Program, Rood is not foreseeing sharp declines in the homeownership rate in the remainder of the year, but expects changes to occur over time that reduce the rate.

"A recent report from Capital Economics confirms that the homeownership rate is likely to decline to 64 percent over the next three years," Rood said. "It’s important to remember to put these numbers in context – every one percent decline in the housing rate means that there are roughly 1 million less homeowners."


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