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." (Read more housing market stories.)