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Homeownership Rate Edges Up in Q2 After Hitting 15-year Low

The nation's homeownership rate rose to 65.5 percent in the second quarter, the ""Census Bureau"":http://www.census.gov/ said Friday.

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The Census Bureau though revised downward the homeownership rate for the first quarter to 65.4 percent (from the originally reported 65.5 percent), the lowest since Q1 1997 when the rate was also 65.4 percent.

The homeownership rate peaked at 69.2 percent in Q2 2004. The rate measures the proportion of households owning their primary residence, computed by dividing the number of household that are occupied by owners by the total number of occupied homes.

The Census Bureau also reported the homeowner vacancy rate fell to 2.1 percent nationwide, down from 2.2 percent in the first quarter and 2.5 percent one year ago.

The homeowner vacancy rate is at its lowest level since Q1 2006. The rental vacancy rate dropped to 8.6 percent from 8.8 percent in the first quarter and 9.2 percent in Q2 2011.

The homeowner vacancy rate is the proportion of the homeowner inventory that is vacant or for sale.

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The rental vacancy rate is the proportion of the rental inventory that is vacant or for rent.

According to the quarterly report, the number of housing units in the second quarter was 132,718,000 an increase of 486,000 from Q2 2011, about 14 percent of which ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô 18,518,000 - were vacant.

The number of units for sale fell to 1,595,000 in Q2 from 1,959,000 in Q2 1011, a drop of 364,000. The number of housing units held off the market increased 265,000 in the year to 7,612,000.

The highest homeownership rate in the second quarter was in the Midwest ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô 69.6 percent, up from 69.5 percent in the first quarter but down from 70.0 percent one year ago.

The homeownership rate increased in two of the four Census regions with the steepest growth in the Northeast up to 63.7 percent in Q2 from 62.5 percent in Q1 and 63.0 percent in Q2 2011.

The rate fell in the West to 59.7 percent from 59.9 percent in Q1 and 60.3 percent in Q2 2011. In the South the homeownership rate fell to 87.4 percent from 67.5 percent in Q1 and 68.2 percent in Q2 2011.

The homeownership rate for older Americans grew in the second quarter to 81.6 percent for those 65 or older from 80.9 percent in the first quarter while falling for those under 35 to 36.5 percent in the second quarter from 36.8 percent in the first.

The median asking sale price for a vacant home rose to $134,600 in the second quarter from $133,700 in the first and $138,400 one year earlier.

The median asking rent in the second quarter fell to $716 from $721 in the first quarter but was up from $684 in the second quarter of 2011.

About Author: Mark Lieberman

Mark Lieberman is the former Senior Economist at Fox Business Network. He is now Managing Director and Senior Economist at Economics Analytics Research. He can be heard each Friday on The Morning Briefing on POTUS on Sirius-XM Radio 124.
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