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Mortgage

Homeownership rate drops to 48-year low

Despite record sales, fewer Americans own homes

The homeownership rate in the United States in the second quarter declined to 63.4%, the lowest it has been since 1967, according to data from the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau.

Further, the steady decline since 2009 continues.

Click to enlarge

(Source: Census Bureau)

On a quarterly basis, the rate was 1.3 percentage points (+/-0.4) lower than the second quarter 2014 rate (64.7%) and 0.4 percentage points (+/-0.4) lower than the rate last quarter (63.7%).

For the second quarter 2015, the homeownership rates were highest in the Midwest (68.4%) and lowest in the West (58.5%). The homeownership rates in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West were lower than the rates in the second quarter 2014.

Click to enlarge

(Source: Census Bureau)

National vacancy rates in the second quarter 2015 were 6.8% for rental housing and 1.8% for homeowner housing.

“The flipside of such strong rental demand is that the homeownership rate fell once again in the second quarter,” said Ed Stansfield, chief property economist at Capital Economics. “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,” Stansfield said. “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.”

The rental vacancy rate of 6.8% was 0.7 percentage points (+/-0.4) lower than the rate in the second quarter 2014 and 0.3 percentage points (+/-0.3) lower than the rate last quarter.

The homeowner vacancy rate of 1.8% was 0.1 percentage point lower than the rate in the second quarter 2014 (+/-0.1) and the rate last quarter (+/-0.1).

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