Homeownership Rate Bottoming Out?


According to the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS), the U.S. homeownership rate was 63.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis in the fourth quarter of 2016, a small increase from the third quarter of 63.4%. This is the second consecutive increase, following a 50-year low of 63.1% in the second quarter of 2016.

Homeownership rates increase with age, rising from youngest to oldest. Changes in homeownership rates varied by age.

Among age groups, two of them experienced decreases in homeownership rates for the fourth quarter of 2016. They were the groups aged less than 35 years old and 55-64 years old. The homeownership rate for household heads aged less than 35 year old decreased from 35.2% in the third quarter of 2016 to 34.7% in the fourth quarter of 2016. The homeownership rates for the remaining groups, including the groups aged 35-44 years old, 45-54 years old and 65 years old and over, increased. The group aged 45-54 years old had the largest increase of 0.7 percentage point.

The HVS also reports rental and homeowner vacancy rates. By the end of 2016, the seasonally adjusted rental vacancy rate was 6.9%, increased by 0.2 percentage point compared to the third quarter of 2016. The seasonally adjusted homeowner vacancy rate remained low at 1.8%.

The HVS revealed that the number of households was 118.6 million on a non-seasonally adjusted basis in the fourth quarter of 2016, about 0.8 million higher than a year ago.



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