Fewer Americans Own Their Own Homes

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 08:09 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The number of Americans who owned their own homes has fallen to a 19-year low, NBC News reported.

Analysts say the aftereffects of the 2007-2009 recession continue to push Americans toward renting.

The rate of ownership fell to 64.8 percent in the second quarter ending June 30, the lowest level since the same quarter of 1995, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. In the first three months of 2014, the ownership figure was 65 percent.

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Most housing in the US is still owner-occupied comprising 55.9 percent of total housing units. Some 30.5 percent of housing units are renter-occupied, while the remainder are vacant or seasonal, according to the Commerce Department.

Home ownership crested at 69.4 percent in 2004. Economists say that with banks adhering to severe lending practices and wages hardly rising, housing ownership could dip even lower, even though the unemployment rate is down and more jobs are being created, NBC reported.

"We are becoming more of a rental society. It's becoming harder to own a home," said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Massachusetts, NBC reported.

About 72 percent of private homes were owned by whites. Black home ownership stood at 43 percent. Hispanic householders, who can be of any race, was 45.8 percent, the Commerce Department said.

Since the 1990s, blacks were more likely than whites to shift out of home ownership into renting, according to a new study by Rice University researchers. "In 2000, African-Americans were more than twice as likely as whites with similar incomes to sign subprime loans; among lower-income blacks, more than half of home refinance loans were subprime," the report said.

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