More Americans became homeowners in the spring, and the number of renters decreased, adding to evidence that consumers still aspire to ownership despite ongoing housing market headwinds.
The national homeownership rate rose to 64.3% in the second quarter, the Census Department reported Thursday, up from 64.2% in the first three months of the year. What’s more, that marked the sixth-straight quarter of yearly increases.
Even better, the biggest jumps in ownership were among younger people. For those under 35, 36.5% were owners in the second quarter, compared to 35.3% a year ago. Americans aged 35 to 44 saw a correspondingly hefty jump, to 60% from 58.8% in 2017.
“Homeownership today is a full percentage point below the 50-year average, and this lag reflects the long-lasting scars from the Great Recession and the lopsided nature of this recovery,” said Sam Khater, chief economist for Freddie Mac.
Still, the new data may quell some worries about younger generations missing out on the wealth-building opportunities inherent in homeownership, even as more economists raise concerns about the staying power of the housing bubble.
Over the past 12 months, 1.77 million more Americans became owners, while the number of renters declined by about 100,000.