Homeownership Hits Lowest Rates Since 2000

Fewer Americans own homes in Q110 than in any quarter since the beginning of 2000, according to data from the Census Bureau. The seasonally adjusted homeownership rate fell to an average of 67.2% percent of qualifying Americans who own homes in Q110, dropping 1bp from 67.3% in Q409. It was the lowest rate since the 67.1% mark in the first quarter of 2000. The rate reached its height in Q105 at 69.2%, according to the Census. The national vacancy rate for homeowner housing remained almost unchanged from a year ago, dipping only 1bp to 2.6% in Q110 from 2.7% in Q109. In Q110, there were more than 19m vacant homes in the US – both rentals and homeowner – more than 14% of the total market of 130,873 housing units. While, the volume is the highest of the last four quarters, it fell just short of the record. There were roughly 38,000 more vacancies in the first quarter of last year. Vacancies held off the market did cross 7,000 for the first time however, increasing 5% from the last quarter of 2009. The highest homeowner vacancy rate in the last 14 years came in the first and last quarters of 2008, when 2.8% of homes were vacant. Homeowner vacancies for Q110 did drop to 3% in the cities from 3.4% in Q109 but did not shrink as much in the suburbs. There, vacancies dropped to 2.4% in Q110 from 2.6% at the beginning of last year. Vacancies in rental housing had a more drastic change, increasing 10.6% nationwide in Q110 from 10.1% in the first quarter of 2009. Homeowner vacancies reached 2.8% in the South, the highest of any region, although it did drop from 3% in Q409. The West followed with a 2.7% vacancy rate. The Midwest was third with a 2.6%, and the Northeast had the smallest rate at 1.8%. Write to Jon Prior.

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