The U.S. homeownership rate may have finally bottomed out, as the share of Americans who own homes is steadily climbing. The ownership rate posted an increase in the second quarter, reversing a sharp downward trend that begun in the Great Recession.
The homeownership rate was 63.7 percent in the second quarter, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. That marks nearly a full percentage point increase from a year ago. Last year, the homeownership rate had plunged to a 50-year low of 62.9 percent.
“The addition of 1.2 million households being homeowners is clearly good news, as more households are participating in housing equity gains,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®. “But let’s keep it in perspective: There are fewer homeowners today compared to a decade ago, while renter households have risen by 8 million.
So it is still the case that the massive $7 trillion in housing wealth gains from the cyclical low point has been accumulated by a fewer number of families in America. Further advances in homeownership are required to strengthen and broaden the middle class.”
Student debts have seemed to affect homeownership rates, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
About 32% of those in their 20s owned a home in 2007, but that’s fallen drastically to 21% in 2016.
While the poor labor market and memories of the housing bubble certainly played a role, student debt can explain up to 35% of the decline, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released Thursday.
The results suggest that the rise in college costs will result in “weaker spending and wealth accumulation among young consumers in the years to come.”
It’s consistent with surveys that have asked those with student debt if it affected their decision to buy a home. Half of those under the age of 35 surveyed by the National Association of Realtors in 2016 said it had delayed their purchase. And 25% told Pew Research Center that student loans had made it harder to buy a home in 2011.