Census Bureau Reports Homeownership Rates Vary Across Age Brackets

The Census Bureau has reported that the nation’s homeownership rate rose to 65.5 percent in the second quarter of this year. That’s only 4 percentage points away from its peak in the second quarter of 2004. But the homeownership picture is quite varied across age brackets.

The homeownership rate for older Americans grew in the second quarter to 81.6 percent for those 65 or older from 80.9 percent in the first quarter while falling for those under 35 to 36.5 percent in the second quarter from 36.8 percent in the first.

The fact that many older Americans already owned their homes before the housing crisis and don’t feel a need to shift to renting even in hard times, may account for the higher homeownership rate amongst seniors.  With the job market still struggling to make a comeback, it’s not surprising that Americans under 35 years old might be reluctant to purchase a home. Many of them recent college graduates or early career professionals, may take student loans, high debt loads and underemployment into consideration when making their decision to delay homeownership.

The other side of the homeownership rates is that rental vacancies are falling significantly. The Census Bureau reported that the rental vacancy rate was a mere 8.6 percent, the lowest level since the second quarter in 2002.  This could be a harbinger of rising rental rates which could cause an eventual rush to purchase affordable housing, even amongst the under 35 demographic.

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