Home Ownership Rate: Up 0.9% YoY In Q4

Over the last decade, the general trend has been consistent: The rate of home ownership continues to struggle. The Census Bureau has now released its latest quarterly report with data through Q4 2018. The seasonally adjusted rate for Q4 is 64.6 percent, up from Q3. The nonseasonally adjusted Q4 number is 64.8 percent, up fractionally from the Q3 64.4 percent figure.

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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Home Ownership Rate

The consensus view is that trend away from homeownership is a result of rising residential real estate prices in general and limited supply of entry-level priced homes that would attract first-time buyers.

Here is the YoY version of the chart going back to 1965.

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For an interesting comparison to prices, here is an inflation-adjusted look at the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

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Homeownership Rates in Other Countries

The snapshot below gives us a crude comparison of the US homeownership rate compared to seventeen other countries. Our data source is a subset of the nearly four dozen countries in this Wikipedia entry on homeownership. We included the outliers at the top and bottom, Romania at 96.4% (2015) and Switzerland at 43.4% (2015), with the most recent data as of 2017 for New Zealand and Singapore, at 63.2% and 90.7%, respectively.

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Home Ownership Rate by Country

The underlying factors in the chart above are quite complex: Residential real estate affordability, financing options, household income distributions, demographics and cultural values, to mention some of the more obvious.

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