Homeownership at Lowest Level Since 1999

November 2 2010 (Chris Moore)

The Census Bureau is reporting that homeownership in the United States is at its lowest level since 1999 hampered by rising foreclosures and weak demand for housing.

homeownership rate chart

The percentage of households that owned their homes was unchanged at 66.9 percent in the July-September quarter. That’s the same as the April-June quarter.

The last time the rate was lower was in 1999, when the rate was 66.7 percent.

The nation’s homeownership rate was around 64 percent from 1985 through 1995. It then rose dramatically during the Clinton and Bush administrations, hitting a peak of more than 69 percent in 2004 at the height of the housing boom.

After the housing bubble burst, the rate has been declining gradually.

According to the government survey, about 18.8 million homes, or 14.4 percent of all houses and apartments were vacant. That was down slightly from the second quarter of the year, when 18.9 million houses and apartments were vacant.

Historically, homeownership has traditionally been in the range of 64% to 66% until innovations in mortgage financing led to a rise in the late 90’s and the early 2000’s. Homeownership peaked at just above 69% in 2004-2005, before those innovative mortgages led to the current housing crisis.

Tags: homeownership, housing bubble, census bureau, housing boom, foreclosures, weak demand for housing, homeownership rate, housing bubble