Wednesday, April 27, 2011

First-Time Home Buyer Watch

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, first quarter 2011: 50.3%

One way to see what lies ahead for the housing market is to track the percentage of 30-to-34-year-olds who own a home. This is the age group in which the majority of households typically become homeowners. The homeownership rate of the age group is the best indicator of trends in the housing market because these young adults are the nation's first-time home buyers. The annual homeownership rate of the age group has been greater than 50 percent since the Census Bureau first began to collect the information in 1982.

The quarterly homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds has been above 50 percent in all but one quarter for the past 17 years. The last time it slipped below 50 percent was in the second quarter of 1994, when only 49.6 percent of 30-to-34-year-olds owned a home. The figure peaked at 58.0 percent in the 4th quarter of 2004. The quarterly number released today is uncomfortably close to falling below the 50 percent threshold.

Source: Bureau of the Census, Housing Vacancy Survey

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