Home-Ownership Rate Falls in US

(Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

The nation’s home-ownership rate ticked down again in the third quarter.

The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that 64.4 percent of U.S. households owned their homes in the third quarter, down from 64.7 percent in the prior three months. That’s the lowest rate since 1995, and down from a peak of 69.2 percent in 2004, before millions of families lost their homes to foreclosure during the Great Recession.

While the mortgage meltdown has eased considerably, home ownership has continued to fall in much of the country, as lending restrictions, an uncertain job market and, more recently, higher home prices keep would-be buyers on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, 20-somethings are moving out of their parents’ homes and into the rental market, which is sparking a surge in apartment construction.

In raw numbers, the number of owner-occupied homes in the U.S. fell from 74.9 million in the third quarter of 2013 to 74.2 million in the same period this year. Rental households grew, from 39.9 million to 41.1 million.

Home ownership has fallen fastest among younger people. Just 36 percent of households under age 35 own their home, and 59.1 percent of households aged 35 to 44.