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NHC Beyond 4 Walls Podcast

The Census Bureau Speaks: What’s going on with homeownership and vacancy

 The Census Bureau released its quarterly report on residential vacancies and homeownership on January 31, 2011. The homeownership rate dropped .4% to 66.5%, its lowest level since 1998. This decrease is a change from recent years. The nation’s homeownership rate gain of 0.8 percentage points from 2000 to 2007.

However since 2007, in large part because of the housing market collapse, the homeownership rate has lost 1.3 percentage points, erasing the boom’s gains, said Stephen East, a Ticonderoga Securities housing analyst. Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist with Capital Economics stated that this change “shows how big the bubble was and how catastrophic the bursting has been.”

However, the vacancy report displayed a different outcome for rental housing. The vacancy rate for rental housing fell to 9.4% from 10.7% a year earlier. 38 million homes are rented, up one million from the previous year. This numerically recorded shift from homeownership to rental is a sign of the times, and shows that despite homes being as affordable as ever the American people may be unable, unwilling or uninterested in playing the dwindling homeownership sandbox.

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