Tuesday, January 30, 2018

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 4th Quarter 2017

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, fourth quarter 2017: 47.1%

Is the long slide over? The homeownership rate of households headed by people aged 30 to 34 climbed to 47.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017. This is the highest quarterly rate for the age group since the end of 2014. The 47.1 percent rate is fully 2.5 percentage points above the all-time low of 44.6 percent recorded in the first quarter of 2017. While the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds appears to have found a new normal in the mid-forties, perhaps the increase is a sign that the early 30s will once again become the age of first-time home buying.  

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 2017, the homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds was 56.6 percent, well below the peak of 65.7 percent in the first quarter of 2007.

Nationally, the homeownership rate was 64.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017—the first time the quarterly rate has cracked the 64 percent mark since 2014. But, cautions the Census Bureau, the 64.2 percent rate is not statistically different from the 63.7 percent of one year ago.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

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