Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 4th Quarter 2011

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, fourth quarter 2011: 49.6%

The 4th quarter homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34 disappointed again, coming in below the 50 percent threshold. With rates of 50.3, 49.5 (the record low), and 49.9 in the previous three quarters of 2011, the annual rate for this age group (to be released in a few weeks) will be less than 50 percent for the first time since the Census Bureau began to collect these data in 1982.

This matters because the homeownership rate of the 30-to-34 age group is the bellwether for the housing industry. Typically, the majority of householders become homeowners in their early thirties. That may no longer be the case as young adults either can't afford or do not want to buy a home until housing prices bottom out and job security improves.

Before the 2011 decline, the quarterly homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds had fallen below 50 percent only one other time--during the 2nd quarter of 1994, when 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. 

Source: Bureau of the Census, Housing Vacancy Survey

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