The Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey (CPS/HVS) reported the U.S. homeownership rate at 65.8% in the second quarter of 2022, which is statistically unchanged from the last quarter reading (65.4%). The national rental vacancy rate slipped to 5.6%, while the homeowner vacancy rate stayed at 0.8%. Both rental and homeowner vacancy rates are hovering near historical lows, reflecting tight housing market conditions.
The covid-induced data collection restrictions have ended in all areas as of the last quarter of 2021. However, technical issues involved with data collection changes limit useful comparisons of the data during the pandemic with the prior data series. We have especially noted the homeownership rate data for the last three quarters of 2020 with separate dots below to denote these technical issues. We encourage readers to consider these data points separately from the remaining data series. Nonetheless, the first three quarters of 2021 likely return the series to a more apples-to-apples comparison with the prior history of the series.
The homeownership rates of adults ages less than 35, 35-44 and 44-54 increased over the last year, while the remaining two older age groups experienced decreases. The homeownership rates among households ages less than 35 registered the largest gains among all age groups, from 37.8% to 39.1%, followed by households ages 45-54 with 1.2 percentage point increase from 69.4% to 70.6%. Households ages 35-44 experienced a modest 0.6 percentage point increase. However, homeownership rates of households ages 55-64 and 65+showed a decline of 0.3 percentage points.
While the total housing inventory estimates were unaffected by the data collection changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the estimates of homeownership rates, vacancy rates, and the components of housing inventory were affected severely until the second quarter of 2021 when in-person interviews were allowed in 99% of the country. The housing stock-based HVS revealed that the count of total households increased to 128.0 million in the second quarter of 2022 from 126.3 million a year ago. The gains are largely due to strong owner household formation (1.6 million increase), while renter households only increased by 81,000.