Homeownership at near 50-year lows

Homeownership is near a 50-year low, but there’s reason for hope as millennials enter the housing market

Homeownership at near 50-year lows
Homeownership is stuck near a 50-year low, according to the latest government data.

Citing figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, HousingWire reported that the homeownership rate was 63.5% in the third quarter, down slightly from 63.7% last year and just 0.4 percentage points up from last quarter.

Meanwhile, vacancy rates for rental housing dropped to 6.8%, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points from last year.

Although the homeownership rate is low, Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin told HousingWire there was reason for optimism. He pointed out that household formation passed 1.1 million in the third quarter, with nearly half of those households being owners rather than renters.

“I think this is good news in light of the fact that millennials now make up the largest pool of potential new households,” he said. “Though many are still living with their parents, they eventually will move out.

“First, they will rent, and as they settle down, and then they will buy. While we can’t know for sure they will own at rates of older generations, our survey work at Trulia shows 80% of Millennials want to own a home – the highest share of any cohort and the highest in the seven years we’ve run the survey.”