According to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday, October 28th, homeownership among Americans is at its lowest level since 1995. In the third quarter of this year, the U.S home ownership rate slipped to 64.4%, the lowest reading in the 19 years that the Census Bureau has been keep records on home ownership rates.
The third quarter 2014 US homeownership rate of 64.4% was 0.9 percentage points lower than the third quarter 2013 rate of 65.3%, and 0.3 percentage points lower than the rate in the second quarter of this year.
US homeownership in downward trend since 2006
Of note, US home ownership rates have been dropping since 2006. This is not too surprising given the largely mortgage-related financial crisis began in 2006, and afterwards banks tightened their mortgage qualification standards, resulting in significantly fewer mortgages since the crisis.
US homeownership rates were just below all-time highs at 69% in 2006, but have headed downward steadily since then. Homeownership rates slipped to 68% in 2007, 67% in 2008 and had hit 66% by 2010.
Other third quarter housing data
According to the Census Bureau report, national vacancy rates in the third quarter of 2014 hit 7.4% for rental housing and 1.8% for homeowner housing. The 7.4% rental rate is 0.9 percentage points lower than the rate in the third quarter 2013 and 0.1 percentage point lower than the rate last quarter. The homeowner vacancy rate of 1.8% was 0.1 percentage point lower than the rate in the third quarter 2013 and the rate last quarter.
Close to 86.5% of the housing units in the US were occupied in the third quarter of 2014, and 13.5% were vacant. Owner-occupied housing units represented 55.7% of total housing units, and renter-occupied units totaled 30.8% of the inventory in the third quarter 2014. Vacancies in year-round units added up to 10.1% of total housing units, and around 3.4% were designated for seasonal use. Approximately 2.5% of the total units were for rent, 1.0% were for sale only, and 0.9%were rented or sold but not yet occupied. Moreover, vacant units being held off market comprised around 5.7% of total US housing stock.