Report: Homeownership rates drop to historic lows

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The fledgling U.S. housing recovery lost momentum last year as homeownership rates continued to fall, single-family construction remained near historic lows and existing home sales cooled, according to the State of the Nation’s Housing report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

In contrast, rental markets continued to grow, fueled by another large increase in the number of renter households. However, with rents rising and incomes well below pre-recession levels, the U.S. is also seeing record numbers of cost-burdened renters, including more renter households higher up the income scale, according to the report.

“Perhaps the most telling indicator of the state of the nation’s housing is the drop in the homeownership rate to just 64.5 percent last year,” Chris Herbert, the center’s managing director, said in a statement. “This erases nearly all of the increase from the previous two decades. In fact, the number of homeowners fell for the eighth straight year and the trend does not appear to be abating.”

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