US homeownership rate falls to 64.8% in Q1, down from 65.2% in previous quarter, the lowest level since Q2 1995, finds Census Bureau; homeownership rate constrained by slow job growth, tight mortgage credit, declining affordability, says economist

BOSTON , April 29, 2014 () – The homeownership rate in the U.S. declined to the lowest in almost 19 years as rising property prices and mortgage rates held back demand.

The share of Americans who own their homes was 64.8 percent in the first quarter, down from 65.2 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau said in a report today. The rate is the lowest since the second quarter of 1995, when it was 64.7 percent.

“The homeownership rate is held back by slow job growth, tight mortgage credit and declining affordability,” Jed Kolko, chief economist of San Francisco-based property-listing service Trulia Inc., said in an interview before the report was released. “We’ll see it stay around this level for some time.”

Sam Zell, chairman of apartment landlord Equity Residential, said yesterday that the rate will fall to as low as 55 percent because more Americans are choosing to rent as they postpone getting married and having children. As of 2010, about 54 percent of adults were married, down from 57 percent a decade earlier, according to Census Bureau data.

“The deferral of marriage has such a staggering impact on real estate and I just don’t think people focus on it,” Zell, 72, said at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California. “I don’t think the multifamily market has ever had a better set of future demographics.”

The U.S. homeownership rate for all Americans peaked at 69.2 percent in June 2004, according to the Census Bureau.


To contact the reporter on this story: Prashant Gopal in Boston at pgopal2@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net Daniel Taub, Christine Maurus

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