Census Bureau Reports Little Change in Homeownership Rates

The U.S. Census Bureau says the nation’s homeownership rate was essentially unchanged through 2021. While it dipped 0.3 percentage point from the fourth quarter of 2021, was at 65.6 percent in Q1 and finished the year at 65.5 percent. The Midwest remained the region with the highest homeownership rate at 70.1 percent while the West was lowest at 60.5 percent.

The rate among those under the age of 35 years was 38.3 percent jumping to 61.4 percent among those in the next ten-year cohort. The oldest age group, those 65 or older, had a rate of 79.4 percent. The rate for all age groups with the exception of those 35 to 44 was slightly lower than in the fourth quarter of 2020.  

White, non-Hispanics remained the group with the highest ownership rate at 74.4 percent, largely unchanged from the previous fourth quarter, however the rate of Black homeownership dropped 1 point to 43.1 percent, further widening a white-black gap that had been narrowing prior to the pandemic. Homeownership among Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders rose 1.6-point year-over-year while the rate for Hispanics declined slightly.

The homeowner vacancy rate in the fourth quarter was 0.9 percent compared to 1.0 percent a year earlier, but it has declined a half point since the beginning of the pandemic. The rental vacancy rate is up 0.7 point from the prior quarter but nearly a point lower than in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Asking prices for the sale of vacant homeowner units are volatile, but the quarterly change this time was especially large, dropping from $285,500 in Quarter Three $239,000. The asking rent for those vacant units was $1,207, up $4 quarter-over-quarter.

The total number of residential units in the U.S. was estimated at 142.4 million, an increase of 1.22 million year-over-year. Ninety percent of those units were occupied, with 58.6 percent being utilized as homeowner units and 30.9 percent as rentals.

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