Published July 1, 2009 | July 2009 issue
The homeownership rate in the U.S. has fallen to a level last seen in mid-2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Recently released data from the Housing Vacancy Survey, which is a supplement to the bureau's Current Population Survey, indicate the overall homeownership rate in the U.S. was 67.3 percent in the first quarter of 2009, a level last recorded nine years ago when the rate ranged from 67.2 percent to 67.7 percent in the second and third quarters of 2000. The Quarter 1, 2009, rate is down more than 2 percentage points from an all-time high of 69.2 percent recorded in the second and fourth quarters of 2004. The seasonally adjusted homeownership rate was 67.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009, a level not seen since the second half of 2000. The Midwest region had the highest overall homeownership rate in Quarter 1, 2009, at 70.7 percent, while the West had the lowest rate, at 62.8 percent.
The data also show that the overall rental and homeownership vacancy rate in the U.S. was 2.7 percent in the first quarter of 2009. The rate is down slightly from a high of 2.9 percent in the first and fourth quarters of 2008, but is significantly higher than it was several years earlier. After ranging from 1.6 to 1.9 percent for nearly a decade, the rental and homeownership vacancy rate began rising in 2005 and has not fallen below 2.0 percent since the fourth quarter of that year.