Survey says homeownership rate at 20-year low

Harvard analysis finds 2014 rate lowest since 1994


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An analysis by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies has found that the homeownership rate in the U.S. fell in 2014 to its lowest point in 20 years, as the housing market continued to tighten.

The analysis of data contained in the Census Bureau’s fourth-quarter Housing Vacancy Survey found that the homeownership rate has been in decline since its high of 69.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004.

As of the fourth quarter of 2014, it was at 64 percent. That’s the lowest it has been since the third quarter of 1994, when it was 64.1 percent, according to the analysis.

The rate of homeownership is highest for householders who are 65 and older (79.5 percent) and lowest for householders under 35 (35.3 percent).

The homeownership rate for the 65 and above age group has held relatively steady since 2008, while the rate for the under-35 group has dropped from a high of 41.3 percent in the first quarter of 2008, according to the Harvard analysis.

The analysis also found that rental vacancy rates continued to decline as well, with the 2014 fourth-quarter rental housing vacancy rate at 7 percent, 1.2 percentage points lower than the fourth quarter rate in 2013 and 3.7 percentage points lower than the fourth quarter rate of 2009.

There is considerable variation in homeowner and rental vacancy rates by metropolitan status and geographic region as well, the analysis found, but rates have declined in all areas from 2013.

For urban areas or principal cities, homeowner vacancy was 2.1 percent in 2014 while rental vacancy was 7.5 percent. Suburbs had the lowest vacancy rates, with the homeowner vacancy rate at 1.7 percent in 2014 and the rental vacancy rate at 7.2 percent. The homeowner vacancy rate in rural areas was 2.1 percent in 2014, and the rental vacancy rate was 8.9 percent.

The analysis can be found at http://housingperspectives.blogspot.com

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