NEW YORK – March 4, 2019 – The U.S. homeownership rate climbed in the fourth quarter to the highest level in nearly five years, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released on Feb. 28. The share of American households that own their homes rose to 64.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, up from 64.2 percent a year earlier.

The last time the homeownership rate was that high was in 2014, and the new figures provide fresh evidence that momentum is shifting back to owning instead of renting.

The United States added about 1.7 million owner households in 2018 but lost 167,000 renter households, according to the Census Bureau.

Even though housing inventory and affordability have been low, "buyers are really expressing their desire for the American dream, albeit surely but slowly," says Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic Inc.

Homeownership also offers a boost to the broader economy. New owners, whether striking out from their parents' basement or from apartments they share with roommates, helped fuel demand for new construction, renovations, furniture, and real-estate brokerage services.

The homeownership rate among households headed by someone who is 35 to 44 years old increased to 61.1 percent in the fourth quarter from 58.9 percent a year earlier. The rate for households with an owner under 35 years old jumped to 36.5 percent from 36 percent in the same period. 

Source: Wall Street Journal (03/01/19) Kusisto, Laura

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