Americans appear to be purchasing more homes as the U.S. homeownership rate has finally moved upward for the first time in two years in the third quarter of 2015, following a 48-year low hit the previous quarter, the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau announced Tuesday.
The data shows the homeownership rate reached 63.7 percent in the third quarter, up 0.3 percentage points from the second quarter rate of 63.4, which was the lowest the rate has been since 1967.
However, the quarterly report found the homeownership rate in this quarter still remains 0.7 percent below the third quarter 2014 rate of 64.4 percent.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the homeownership rate in the third quarter was 63.5 percent, matching up with the previous quarter's rate. Last year, during this same period, the rate was 64.2 percent.
The Bureau reported that the homeownership rates were highest in the Midwest at 68.1 percent in the third quarter, down from 68.4 percent in the previous quarter.
The Northeast region experienced the largest increase quarter-over-quarter from 60.2 percent to 60.8 percent, while the South's homeownership rate rose from 64.9 percent to 65.4. The Western region brought in the lowest rate at 58.7 percent, but rose slightly from 58.5 percent in the last quarter.
According to the report, in each region, the homeownership rate decreased year-over-year.
The Census report showed that householders ages 65 and older occupied 78.7 percent of the homeownership rate, marginally up from 78.5 percent recorded in the prior quarter.
While those under 35 years only occupied 35.8 percent of the rate, this number has risen from 34.8 percent in the previous quarter, the report noted.
Non-Hispanic White householders make up the majority of homeowners at 71.9 percent in the third quarter, up from 71.6 last quarter. Following this group, was the "All Other Races" category at 53.7 percent, also up from 52.6 percent last quarter.
Blacks and Hispanics continue to fall short of homeownership, making up 42.4 percent and 46.1 percent of the homeownership rate, respectively.
The Bureau determined that 78.4 percent of households with family income higher than or equal to the median family income purchased homes in the third quarter, while 49.0 percent of households with family income less than the median family income bought homes.
The data also showed that the national vacancy rates for homeowner housing were 1.9 percent in the third quarter, 0.1 percent higher than the rate last year and last quarter.
View the full report at: http://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/files/currenthvspress.pdf