Home Ownership Rate Finally Increases

The nation’s home ownership rate posted its first increase – albeit a slight one – after seven quarterly declines. But the real news is demographic: The biggest gain between July and September was among those under 35 years old. According to the Commerce Department, that’s the first time this group has seen an increase in more than a decade.

The home ownership rate rose to 63.7 percent in the third quarter, up from 63.4 percent in the second quarter. The rate remains well-below the high of 69.2 percent in the second quarter of 2004.

There are many factors at play. After the housing crisis, many Americans who were foreclosed upon were forced to become renters. Also as the nation’s population grows older, more Americans are being drawn to nursing or assisted-care living. Also, the millennial generation has been slow to embrace home ownership.

But that may be starting to change, as the home ownership rate for those under age 35 increased from 34.8 percent to 35.8 percent in the third quarter. That marks the largest gain for that population since the second quarter of 2004. Also, it was the only age cohort that posted a significant increase in the home ownership rate in the third quarter.

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