Homeownership Down Slightly


The homeownership rate declined slightly during the second quarter of 2013, falling to a seasonally adjusted reading of 65.1% according to Census data. This marks a 4.3 percentage point decline versus the peak from mid-2004.

While the homeownership rate is somewhat lower than its 20-year historical average of 66.9%, the rate has not fallen as low as some analysts anticipated, due in part to a sluggish pace of new household formations. In other words, though the numerator (owner-occupied households) has fallen, still-slow growth in the denominator (total occupied households) has kept the homeownership rate from falling lower.

homeowner rate

Across age groups, homeownership mostly remained flat or declined versus the second quarter of 2012. For the most recent reading, the largest year-over-year percentage point decline in homeownership occurred for households headed by those aged between 35 and 44 years (1.9 percentage points). Each of the householder cohorts have registered declines in the homeownership rate since peaking around the mid-2000s, but the largest declines have been for those 44 and younger.

homeownership by age

The Census Bureau’s quarterly survey also provides estimates of vacancy rates among the stock of owner and rental housing.

The rental vacancy rate continued its downward trend during the second quarter of 2013, declining 40 basis points from a year ago to 8.2%. On a 4-quarter moving average basis, the rental vacancy rate has dropped to its lowest reading since the end of 2001.

The homeowner vacancy rate dipped 20 basis points compared to the second quarter of 2012, with the 4-quarter moving average falling to 1.9%, the lowest rate since mid-2006.

vacancy rates

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