Affordable Housing, Community Development, Reports and Publications

U.S. Homeownership Rate in Steady Decline

U.S. Census Bureau

The homeownership rate in the United States - in consistent decline since 2006 - dropped to just 66% in 2011. Meanwhile, vacancy rates for rental and owned properties have also been in steady decline, with the rental vacancy rate dipping to 9.4%. The data came from the U.S. Census Bureau, which published the 2011 fourth quarter housing vacancies and homeownership survey data on January 31.

The Census Bureau report shows that the overall homeownership rate in the country dropped .5% points from 66.5% in the fourth quarter 2010 to 66% in the fourth quarter 2011. The last time the homeownership rate was as low as 66% was in 1998. The 2011 fourth quarter homeowner vacancy rate was just 2.3%, but the Bureau notes that vacancy rates can be deceptive since many vacant units are not for sale, for rent or on an official record.  These unaccounted for units comprise approximately 5.4% of all housing units and include foreclosed homes that are no longer being marketed.

That report also includes data on how homeownership and vacancy rates differ based on geographic distribution. Homeownership rates in the Northeast have dropped .4% from the 4th quarter of 2010 to the 4th quarter of 2011 from 64.1% to 63.7%. Additionally, the homeownership rate is not even across racial groups. White households have a homeownership rate of 73.7% while blacks and Hispanics have homeownership rates of 45.1% and 46.6% respectively.  Despite this difference, all groups have experienced homeownership rate declines since the second quarter of 2009.

For the press release from the U.S census, click here
Data from the most recent and past Housing Vacancy Surveys, a component of the Current Population Survey, can be found here


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