U.S. Homeownership Declining

The homeownership rate within the United States declined to the lowest rate in 13 years during the fourth quarter of 2010, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. At 66.5%, the home ownership rate was 0.4% below the third quarter and down 0.7% compared to the previous year.

Across all measurements, statistics for homeownership rates are down. The largest decline happened in the West, where the number of owners fell 1.3% from the previous year. The homeowner housing vacancy rate rose to 2.7% as foreclosures continue to afflict real estate markets, up from 2.5% the third quarter. The South and Midwest tied with 2.8% of homeowner housing stock left vacant. Statistics for the South represented a 1.0% decline from the year before, while the Midwest’s number was unchanged. The West and Northeast showed vacancy rates of 2.7% and 2.0% respectively.

As homeownership rates sank, rental activity has gone up. Rental vacancies reached the lowest reading since the beginning of 2003, at 9.4% in the fourth quarter, down 1.3% on from a year ago. The South has the largest percentage of rental vacancies at 11.5%, but also saw the biggest year-over-year drop with 2.2%. The West and Midwest also saw modest declines in rental vacancies, while the Northeast saw a small increase of 0.3% from the year before.

The mistakes made by financial institutions, the high unemployment rate and a glut of foreclosures are the three main culprits behind home ownership rate reductions and increases in rental activity.

Source: Homeownership Reaches 13-year Low as Vacancies Rise

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