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Home Ownership Rate Lowest Level In 50 Years

  • Written by Syndicated Publisher No Comments Comments
    November 2, 2016

    Over the last decade the general trend has been consistent: The rate of home ownership continues to decline. The Census Bureau has now released its latest quarterly report with data through Q3 2016. The seasonally adjusted rate for Q3 is 63.4 percent, up from 63.1 in Q2. The nonseasonally adjusted Q3 number is 63.5 percent, below the Q2 number and at its interim low.

    The Census Bureau has been tracking the nonseasonally adjusted data since 1965. Their seasonally adjusted version only goes back to 1980. Here is a snapshot of the nonseasonally adjusted series with a 4-quarter moving average to highlight the trend.

    Home Ownership Rate

    The consensus view is that trend away from home ownership is a result of rising residential real estate prices in general and limited supply of entry level priced homes that would attract first-time buyers.

    Homeownership Rates in Other Countries

    The snapshot below gives us a crude comparison of the US homeownership rate compared to seventeen other countries. Our data source is a subset of the nearly four dozen countries in this Wikipedia entry on home ownership. We included the outliers at the top and bottom, Romania at 96.4% and Switzerland at 44.0%, most as of 2015 and 2014, respectively.

    Home Ownership Rate by Country

    The underlying factors in the chart above are quite complex: Residential real estate affordability, financing options, household income distributions, demographics and cultural values, to mention some of the more obvious.


    For additional perspectives on residential real estate, here is the complete list of our monthly updates:

    Images: Flickr (licence attribution)

    About The Author
    My original dshort.com website was launched in February 2005 using a domain name based on my real name, Doug Short. I’m a formerly retired first wave boomer with a Ph.D. in English from Duke. Now my website has been acquired byAdvisor Perspectives, where I have been appointed the Vice President of Research.

    My first career was a faculty position at North Carolina State University, where I achieved the rank of Full Professor in 1983. During the early ’80s I got hooked on academic uses of microcomputers for research and instruction. In 1983, I co-directed the Sixth International Conference on Computers and the Humanities. An IBM executive who attended the conference made me a job offer I couldn’t refuse.

    Thus began my new career as a Higher Education Consultant for IBM — an ambassador for Information Technology to major universities around the country. After 12 years with Big Blue, I grew tired of the constant travel and left for a series of IT management positions in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. I concluded my IT career managing the group responsible for email and research databases at GlaxoSmithKline until my retirement in 2006.

    Contrary to what many visitors assume based on my last name, I’m not a bearish short seller. It’s true that some of my content has been a bit pessimistic in recent years. But I believe this is a result of economic realities and not a personal bias. For the record, my efforts to educate others about bear markets date from November 2007, as this Motley Fool article attests.
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