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A statistic that you don’t hear much about around the water cooler is the U.S. home ownership rate. The Census Bureau keeps tabs on the percentage of citizens who own their own dwelling unit (as opposed to renting).
This year, we’re seeing new lows in the ownership rate; the recent report on the first quarter 2013 was 65 percent. This represents a new low in the real estate economic yardstick – the rate peaked at 69.2 percent in June 2004.
Frankly, I’m always a bit surprised at how high the rate is. Considering all the renters I know, 65-70 percent seems quite large for an ownership percentage.
Folks closest to the numbers say that the dropping rate is attributable to the tight credit conditions out in the mortgage industry. One opinion I’ve heard about the decline in ownership is that there is a surge in people buying investment properties and renting them out – capitalizing on the flow of foreclosures into the market. I think we have seen our share of this here in the midstate. This same phenomenon is pointed to as a contributor to housing growth.
What would you say is the breakdown of your sphere of influence, owning vs. renting? I’d be curious to know…