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Stagnant Homeownership in America

San Francisco, California, USA city skyline.

The Census Bureau reported Wednesday that the overall homeownership rate in the U.S. during Q3 2019 was relatively unchanged from 2018 at 64.8%—a 0.7% increase from Q2 2019. 

The homeownership rate during Q3 2018 was 64.4%. Homeownership rose marginally quarter-to-quarter by 0.7%. 

“Lower interest rates and cooling home price growth have created a better climate for all homebuyers to return to the housing market, but was particularly impactful for families looking to buy their first home, and their decision to buy has helped boost the number of homeowners in the population,” said Tian Liu, Chief Economist at Genworth Mortgage Insurance. 

Vacancies also saw a slight annual decline, falling to 1.4% from the prior year’s 1.6%. The vacancy rate, however, did rise from 1.3% during Q2 2019. Additionally, 12.2% of all homes in the U.S. were vacant during Q3 2019. 

Homeownership rates were highest in the Midwest at 69%, with the South close behind at 66.2%. The Northeast had a homeownership rate of 61.7% and the West had the lowest regional homeownership rate of 60.6%. The Census Bureau states that homeownership rates in the Midwest, Northeast, and the West are relatively unchanged from Q3 2018. 

Those over the age of 65 had the nation’s highest homeownership rate at 78.9% and the lowest rate was for those under the age of 35. The homeownership rate for those under 35 did see a year-over-year increase from Q3 2018’s 36.8%. 

Homeowners identified as “Non-Hispanic, White, Alone,” had the highest homeownership rate of 73.4%. Asians had the second highest at 58.5% and African-American’s had the lowest homeownership rate of 42.7%. 

The African-American homeownership rate, though, did rise nearly 2% from the prior quarter’s 40.6%. 

The Census’ report comes on the heels of the National Association of Realtors revealing that pending-home sales increased for the second-consecutive month. The Pending Home Sales Index rose 1.5% in September.

“Even though home prices are rising faster than income, national buying power has increased by 6% because of better interest rates,” said National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economic Lawrence Yun. “Furthermore, we’ve seen increased foot traffic as more buyers are evidently eager searching to become homeowners.”

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.

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