The number of people nationally who owned homes in the second quarter of this year dropped to levels last seen in 1967, according to data released earlier this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.
America’s home ownership rate in the second quarter of this year was at a low of 63.4 percent, down from 63.7 percent the first quarter of this year and lower than the same time last year. It’s also lower than the 50-year average home ownership rate of 65.3 percent.
To compare to boom times, the highest home ownership rate was 69.2 percent in the last quarter of 2004.
Albuquerque metro area’s home ownership rate was also down, from 63.8 percent in the first quarter to 60.5 percent the second quarter. Between 2005 and 2015, Albuquerque’s highest home ownership rate was in the fourth quarter of 2007 at 72.7 percent.
The Midwest has the highest number of people who own homes, with a home ownership rate at 68.4 percent. The West had the lowest at 58.5 percent. All regions except the West, which remained the same, experienced a dip in home ownership rates from the first to second quarter. New Mexico’s home ownership rate is currently 63.5 percent.
Home sales have picked up nationwide, including Albuquerque, but the problem is that not enough first-time home buyers have opted to participate in the housing market. Considering today’s millennials have high amounts of student debt and experience stagnant wage increases, it’s often not possible for them to save up enough money for a down payment on a house.
And with still-tight lending practices, potential home owners can’t take advantage of today’s low interest rates.
Which is perhaps why so many millennials are opting to rent. The data showed the national rental vacancy rate fell from 7.1 percent earlier this year to 6.8 percent in the second quarter. Renter-occupied housing units have also grown by 2 million units over the past year, the data showed.
Albuquerque’s rental vacancy rate went a different way and actually increased, from 7.3 percent to 7.7 percent quarter to quarter this year.
By: Stephanie Guzman (Albuquerque Business First)
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