Homeownership in the United States fell to its lowest rate in nearly a decade in 2014’s first quarter, according to new Census data, with older adults remaining the demographic with the highest rates.
The quarter’s 64.8% homeownership rate represents nearly 74.4 million households. That’s a four basis point drop from the previous quarter and a 0.2 percentage point decline from the same time last year.
The last time homeownership dropped beneath 65% was the second quarter of 1995, when it stood at 64.7%.
Homeownership rates peaked at 69.2% in 2004 and remained elevated until 2006, when they hovered around 69%. Since 2010, the homeownership rate has stayed between 65% to about 67%.
“The homeownership rate alone is hiding some of the housing recovery’s progress,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at real estate website Trulia.
One potential reason for the decline in homeownership is an increase in renters. The rental vacancy rate dropped to 8.3% in the first quarter of 2014, down from 8.6% the previous year but a slight increase from the fourth quarter of 2013.
There are more than 40.3 million renters in the United States as of the first quarter, up 333,000 from one year ago. In contrast, the number of homeowners declined by about 90,000 during the same time period.
Homeownership is highest in the midwest, at 69.3%, and lowest in the West, at 59.4%. However, the West is the only region with an uptick in homeownership in the first quarter from 2013’s fourth quarter of 59.3%, and the Northeast, Midwest, and South all declined from the previous quarter.
Homeownership rates are highest among those aged 65 and older, at 79.9% in the first quarter. Only 36.4% of those 35 and under own homes.
View the homeownership and rental rates for the first quarter of 2014.
Written by Alyssa Gerace