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Homeownership rate stabilizes, survey says

by John Frank

 

In the first quarter of 2017, the homeownership rate was only slightly less than the previous quarter at 63.6 percent, remaining below the 27-year average rate of 66.1 percent, according to the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS). Since the national homeownership rate peaked in 2004, it has continued to decrease every quarter. However, there were gradual changes in 2016, a 0.8 percent increase from 62.9 percent in quarter two of 2016 to 63.7 percent in the fourth quarter.

Within individual age groups, the Millennial and Generation X homeownership rate increased by 0.1 percent since last year, and those between the ages of 45 and 54 increased by 0.2 percent. This suggests that people are slowly returning to the housing market.

The homeowner vacancy rate remained low at 1.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017, a 0.1 percent decrease since the last quarter in 2016. The national rental vacancy rate held steady at 7 percent at the same time.

The housing stock-based HVS also shows that the number of households increased to 118.8 million for the first quarter of 2017, 1.2 million higher than a year ago. According to the Census Bureau, this increase in household formation will spark a flux in rental housing housing demand, first, and then home sales.

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