Interest Rate Roundup

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Q4 homeownership rate slips to lowest since 2002; Vacancy rate ties record high

The Census Bureau releases data on homeownership and vacancy rates each quarter. Given what we already know from the monthly data, it should come as no surprise that conditions deteriorated (PDF link) in Q4 2007. Specifically ...

* The U.S. homeownership rate slumped to 67.7% in Q4 2007 from 68.1% in Q3 2007 and 68.8% in Q4 2006. That is the lowest since Q2 2002 (tie). The rate hasn't been lower since Q1 2001.

* The homeowner vacancy rate, which measures how much of the housing stock for sale is sitting empty, climbed to 2.8% from 2.7% both a quarter and a year earlier. That matched the all-time high in Q1 2007. For some perspective sake, this measure never topped 1.9% until the housing bubble started deflating (see chart above).


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