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U.S. Homeownership Rate Plunges to Lowest Level Since 1997

by ChrisGuldi on May 1, 2012

The Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau released last Monday the latest U.S. homeownership data.

According to the Census Bureau, homeownership rate plunged to the lowest level in 15 years in the 1st quarter of this year.

The homeownership rate fell 65.4% from 66% in the 4th quarter of last year. This is the lowest level since the 1st quarter of 1997.

The latest Census Bureau data further shows that of the close to 132.6 million homes in the U.S., 18.5 million or 13.9% were vacant in the 1st quarter of this year. A year ago, 19 million U.S. homes were vacant, the Census Bureau reports.

Paul Diggle, property economist with Capital Economics Ltd. in London, told Bloomberg that this homeownership rate plugged can be attributed to stricter mortgage standards.

Diggle said, “Although house prices and mortgage rates have fallen to a level that makes buying preferable to renting, ongoing problems accessing mortgage credit are preventing many households from taking advantage.”

Real estate experts have projected that homeownership may further fall with the recent federal court approval of the $26 billion settlement between the nation’s five biggest mortgage lenders and 49 state general attorneys.

Experts say that the $26 billion settlement not only clears the way for banks to compensate homeowners that were impacted with the foreclosure processing abuses, but the settlement also clears the way for more foreclosure activities.

Whether you are a first-time home buyer, first-time home seller, empty nester, thinking about selling a home or buying a home, do contact the Guldi Real Estate Group. In Southern Maryland, the Guldi Group is the number one real estate team.

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