Thursday, January 28, 2016

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 4th Quarter 2015

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, fourth quarter 2015: 45.9%

The homeownership rate of households headed by people aged 30 to 34 fell in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 45.9 percent, down 0.9 percentage points from the 46.8 percent of the third quarter. This is disappointing news for the housing industry, which is anxiously waiting for first-time homebuyers to return to the marketplace. The rise in the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds in the third quarter of 2015 appears to have been a bobble at the bottom and not a turnaround. 

Historically, homeownership became the norm in the 30-to-34 age group—rising above 50 percent. But beginning in 2007, the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds went into a tailspin. In the second quarter of 2011, the rate fell below 50 percent for the first time. It's been stuck there ever since. The new age of first-time home buying is 35 to 39, but even this age group has been slipping toward the 50-percent threshold. In the fourth quarter of 2015, the homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds climbed to 56.2 percent—up from the third quarter's record low of 54.6 percent. The homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds peaked in the first quarter of 2007 at 65.7 percent.

Nationally, the homeownership rate was 63.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, down from 64.0 percent a year earlier.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

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