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U.S. Home Ownership Rate Dips

The rate is still high, but the drop is the largest since the Great Depression
  • January 16 2012

The housing crisis took its toll on home ownership in the 2000s. The U.S. home ownership rate dipped by 1.1 percent between 2000 and 2010, the largest drop since the period between 1930 and 1940 (The Great Depression). Still, 2010’s rate of 65.1 percent was the second highest home ownership rate on record, behind only 2000. This information comes from the U.S. Census Bureau brief, Housing Characteristics: 2010.

Regionally, The homeownership rate in the Midwest was 69.2 percent, followed by the South (66.7 percent), the Northeast (62.2 percent) and the West (60.5 percent). Homeownership rates decreased in each region from 2000 to 2010. West Virginia (73.4 percent) had the highest home ownership rate in 2010, followed by Minnesota (73.0 percent), Michigan, (72.1 percent), Iowa (72.1 percent), and Delaware (72.1 percent). New York had the lowest percentage of homeowners at 53.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the national housing inventory increased by 15.8 million units, or 13.6 percent, from 2000 to 2010., growing faster in the South and West than in the Midwest and Northeast. All of the states with the largest percentage increases in housing units were in either the West or the South: Nevada (41.9 percent), Arizona (29.9 percent), Utah (27.5 percent), Idaho (26.5 percent), Georgia (24.6 percent), Florida (23.1 percent), North Carolina (22.8 percent), Colorado (22.4 percent), Texas (22.3 percent) and South Carolina (21.9 percent).

No states in either the Midwest or the Northeast experienced a percentage change in housing inventory greater than the national increase of 13.6 percent. In the Northeast, housing units in Pennsylvania (6.0 percent), New York (5.6 percent) and Rhode Island (5.4 percent) increased less than both the nation and the Northeast as a whole (6.6 percent). West Virginia had the lowest percentage increase of any state at 4.4 percent.

While homeowners were the majority in most of the nation's metro areas, they were outnumbered by renters in many of the country's largest cities. This was similar to 2000. In New York, renters made up 69.0 percent of households, followed by Los Angeles (61.8 percent), Chicago (55. 1 percent) and Houston (54.6 percent).

Every region and all but three states experienced a percentage point increase in their gross vacancy rate during the decade. Nevada led all states with both the largest percent increase in total housing units and the largest percentage point increase in the gross vacancy rate. Only three states, New Mexico (-0.9), Wyoming (-0.2) and Hawaii (-0.1), experienced a decrease in their gross vacancy rates.


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