Fewer Americans are becoming homeowners as the U.S. homeownership rate continues to slip ever so slightly each year, government data shows.
Overall, the U.S. homeownership rate slipped to 65.4% in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 0.6 percentage points from 66% in the fourth quarter of 2011 and a slight drop from a homeownership rate of 65.5% the previous quarter.
"The fact that the housing recovery is being driven principally by investor demand means that the slight decline in the homeownership rate in the fourth quarter is unlikely to be the last," said Capital Economics.
The national vacancy rate for rental housing hit 8.7% in the fourth quarter, while the vacancy rate for homeowner housing hit 1.9%, according to the Commerce Department.
The U.S. Census says the rental vacancy rate fell 0.7 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the same quarter in 2012, while the homeownership vacancy rate fell 0.4 percentage points from 4Q 2011 to 4Q 2012.