Homeownership Rates Continue to Decline

The Census Bureau recently released its 2014 Q4 Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) data, giving us a complete look at the boom and bust in homeownership rates over the last 20 years. The HVS’ reported homeownership rate, though far from perfect, remains the most up-to-date and cited statistic on homeownership in the U.S., and thus an important barometer of the housing status of American households. One advantage of the HVS is its long time frame, going back to 1965 at the annual and regional level, which helps to put recent trends in homeownership into a historical context. Figure 1 shows that the national homeownership rate rose steadily through the late 1960s and 1970s, from 63 to 65.6 percent, before declining slightly in the early 1980s. After a decade of stagnation, the rate rose rapidly from 1994 to 2004, from 64 to a record high of 69 percent. Since then, however, the national homeownership rate has declined almost fully back to its 1994 level.

via Housing Perspectives (from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies).

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