The Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey (CPS/HVS) reported the U.S. homeownership rate at 66% in the third quarter of 2022, which is statistically unchanged from the last quarter reading (65.8%). It is 0.6 percentage points higher than the rate in the third quarter of 2021. The national rental vacancy rate rose to 6%, while the homeowner vacancy rate inched up to 0.9%. The homeowner vacancy rate is still hovering near the lowest rate in the survey’s 66-year history (0.9%).
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 in all age groups increased over the last year, except those householders aged 65 years and over experienced decrease. The homeownership rates among households aged 45-54 registered the largest gains among all age groups, from 70.1% to 71.4%, followed by householders aged 35-44 with 1.2 percentage point increase from 61.3% to 62.5%. Households aged less than 35 experienced a modest 0.8 percentage point increase. However, homeownership rates of householders aged 65+ showed a decline of 0.2 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 128.3 million in the third quarter of 2022 from 127.1 million a year ago. The gains are largely due to strong owner household formation (1.7 million increase), while renter households decreased by 454,000.