Home-Ownership Rate Hits 22-Year Low

(Chicago Tribune/TNS) -

It’s becoming a familiar pattern, one that’s not good news for home sellers and builders.

The share of people who owned a home at the end of March slipped again, taking the nation’s home-ownership rate down to 63.7 percent, the lowest it’s been in 22 years, the Census Bureau said Tuesday.

Not surprisingly, the share of rental units that were vacant at the end of the quarter also fell year-over-year.

While the home-ownership rate isn’t much different from the first-quarter rate of 64 percent, after adjusting for seasonality, according to bureau economists, it is a noticeable decline from the 64.8 percent home-ownership rate recorded in 2014’s first quarter and is the lowest measurement since the first quarter of 1993.

Data from the bureau show that young adults in particular continue to be less interested in owning a home.

At the end of March, the home-ownership rate of people under the age of 35 was 34.6 percent, down from 35.3 percent in 2014’s fourth quarter and 36.2 percent a year earlier. That compares with more than 43 percent in 2004-05.

In the first quarter, 7.1 percent of all rental units nationally were vacant, compared with 7 percent in 2014’s final quarter and 8.3 percent in 2014’s first quarter.