Home Ownership Rate: 67.2% In Q3

The Census Bureau has now released its latest quarterly report with data through Q3. The seasonally adjusted rate for Q3 is 67.2 percent, up from Q2 2020. The nonseasonally adjusted Q3 number is 67.4 percent, down from the Q2 2020 67.9 percent figure. Over the last decade, the general trend has been consistent: The rate of homeownership continued to struggle. The recent recession as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic has caused a massive, but brief, jump in homeownership due to grossly reduced spending.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Announcement: Due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), data collection operations for the CPS/HVS were affected during the third quarter of 2020, as in-person interviews were only allowed for portions of the sample
in July (41 percent), August (53 percent), and September (100 percent). The remaining interviews were conducted over the telephone. If the Field Representative was unable to get contact information on the sample unit, the unit was made a Type A noninterview (no one home, refusal, etc). We are unable to determine the extent to which this data collection change affected our estimates. See the FAQ for more information.

National vacancy rates in the third quarter 2020 were 6.4 percent for rental housing and 0.9 percent for homeowner housing. The rental vacancy rate of 6.4 percent was 0.4 percentage points lower than the rate in the third quarter 2019 (6.8 percent) and 0.7 percentage points higher than the rate in the second quarter 2020 (5.7 percent). The homeowner vacancy rate of 0.9 percent was 0.5 percentage points lower than the rate in the third quarter 2019 (1.4 percent) and virtually unchanged from the rate in the second quarter 2020 (0.9 percent).

The homeownership rate of 67.4 percent was 2.6 percentage points higher than the rate in the third quarter 2019 (64.8 percent) and not statistically different from the rate in the second quarter 2020 (67.9 percent).

The Census Bureau has been tracking the nonseasonally adjusted data since 1965. Their seasonally adjusted version only goes back to 1980. Here is a snapshot of the nonseasonally adjusted series with a 4-quarter moving average to highlight the trend.

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