The homeownership rate remained unchanged at a seasonally adjusted reading of 65.1% during the third quarter of 2013 according to Census data. The reading is below its 20-year historical average of 66.9% and 4.3 percentage points below the peak reading of 69.4% in the second quarter of 2004. However, the flat reading follows three consecutive quarters of decline.
Homeownership increased over the second quarter of 2013 for all age groups except households headed by those aged between 55 and 64 years, who saw a decline of 0.5 percentage points. For the most recent reading, the largest percentage point increase from last quarter occurred for households headed by those aged between 35 and 44 years, who saw an increase of 0.8 percentage points. Over the coming years, this age group and the under 35 cohort are key population segments to watch. It will be important to distinguish cyclical (business cycle based) declines and recoveries versus long-term structural changes on the views of homeownership for this age group.
Across regions, homeownership mostly remained flat or declined versus the third quarter of 2012. For the most recent reading, the largest year-over-year percentage point decline in homeownership occurred in the West (0.6 percentage points). The West historically has the lowest homeownership rate among all four regions. The homeownership rate for the most recent quarter is 59.5% in the West versus a homeownership rate of 69.6% in the Midwest.
The Census Bureau’s quarterly survey also provides estimates of vacancy rates among the stock of owner and rental housing.
The rental vacancy rate increased slightly in the third quarter of 2013 after two consecutive quarters of decline. The current reading is 8.3% or 10 basis points above last quarter. On a 4-quarter moving average basis, the rental vacancy rate remains at its lowest reading since the end of 2001.
The homeowner vacancy remained unchanged compared to the third quarter of 2012, with the 4-quarter moving average of 1.9%, the lowest rate since mid-2006.