Homeownership Falls to 15-Year Low

It's at 65.4%, down from a high of 69.2%, but analysts aren't worried—yet
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2012 8:19 AM CDT
In this June 9, 2011 file photo, a home posted for sale at a reduced price is seen in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

(Newser) – The US homeownership rate fell to 65.4% in the first quarter to hit a 15-year-low, as foreclosures and a strong rental market kept Americans away from homeownership, according to figures released by the Census Bureau today. That's down from 66% last quarter, and from 69.2% at the market's peak in 2004. But analysts tell the LA Times there's no reason to panic—the market is just correcting itself after subprime insanity.

That 69.2% figure was propped up by a lot of people who were really "renters with an option to buy," since they'd put no money down, says a USC professor specializing in Real Estate. "We were getting numbers up toward 70% that just didn't make any sense. If the number goes below 64%, it'll be something to be alarmed about. But above that—we're just going back to where we should be."

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