Tags: Homeownership | Decade | Low | Foreclosures | Rise

Homeownership at Decade Low as Foreclosures Rise

Tuesday, 02 Nov 2010 12:35 PM

The U.S. homeownership rate was unchanged at a 10-year low in the third quarter as banks stepped up property seizures from borrowers who defaulted on mortgages.

The homeownership rate was 66.9 percent, matching the second-quarter level that was the lowest since 1999, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report today. The homeowner vacancy rate, or the share of properties vacant and for sale, was unchanged at 2.5 percent, according to the report.

Lenders are repossessing properties as borrowers fall behind in mortgage payments after the worst housing crash since the Great Depression. Banks seized a record 288,345 homes in the third quarter, up 22 percent from a year earlier, according to an Oct. 14 report from RealtyTrac Inc. in Irvine, California.

“A lot of foreclosed homes are sitting on the market,” said Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist for IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. “Demand for them is weak because of the economy.”

The homeownership rate fell from 67.6 percent in the third quarter of 2009. The rate reached a record high of 69.2 percent in the second and fourth quarters of 2004.

There were 18.8 million vacant homes in the third quarter, including foreclosures, residences for sale and vacation homes, down from 18.9 million in the second quarter, according to today’s Census report from Washington.

Empty Properties

Foreclosures are included in a part of the Census Bureau report that also includes vacation homes intended for year-round use and homes that are unoccupied because they are under renovation or tied up in legal proceedings. There were 3.6 million such properties empty in the third quarter, down from 3.7 million in the second quarter, the report said. A year earlier, the number was 3.4 million.

Foreclosures could also be counted as vacant homes for sale or rent, or as owner-occupied properties if lenders have not yet evicted previous owners, the federal agency said.

There were 1.9 million empty properties on the market, down from 2 million in the second quarter, according to the report.

The Obama administration’s primary anti-foreclosure plan, the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, has resulted in 466,708 permanent modifications since March 2009, according to U.S. Treasury Department data. The terms of about 1.4 million mortgages have been changed on a temporary basis.

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The U.S. homeownership rate was unchanged at a 10-year low in the third quarter as banks stepped up property seizures from borrowers who defaulted on mortgages. The homeownership rate was 66.9 percent, matching the second-quarter level that was the lowest since 1999, the...
Homeownership,Decade,Low,Foreclosures,Rise
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2010-35-02
Tuesday, 02 Nov 2010 12:35 PM
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