Home Ownership Rate Finally Makes Gains

February 2, 2016

The home ownership rate was on the rise for the second consecutive quarter as an improving job market and a slight easing in access to credit helped put an end to nearly two years of declines.

The share of Americans who own their homes was 63.8 percent in the fourth quarter, which is up from 63.7 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau reports. Still, the home ownership rate remains near a 48-year low, which it first reached last year. It also remains far-below the peak it reached at the end of 2004 when the rate was 69.1 percent.

The latest Census data shows that home ownership is highest among people over the age of 65. About 79.3 percent of households that are 65 or older own their homes.

On the other hand, home ownership among those under age 35 remains at 34.7 percent. Among Americans ages 35 to 44, home ownership rose from 58.8 percent to 59.3 percent in the latest quarter.

“The home ownership rate has found a floor,” Matthew Pointon, U.S. property economist for Capital Economics Ltd., told Bloomberg Business. “We expect it to rise very gradually over the next few years."

Source: “Home Ownership Creeps Up but Remains Below 2004’s Peak,” The Chicago Tribune (Jan. 28, 2016) and “U.S. Home Ownership Rises as Jobs Bring Back First-Time Buyers,” Bloomberg Business (Jan. 28, 2016)