Thursday, January 30, 2020

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 4th Quarter 2019

Homeownership rate of householders aged 35 to 39, fourth quarter 2019: 57.8%

Ho-hum is the word that best describes the 4th quarter homeownership numbers released by the Census Bureau this morning. The homeownership rate of the 35-to-39 age group, the nation's first-time homebuyers, was stable in the fourth quarter of 2019. Although the 57.8 percent rate for the age group in the fourth quarter was higher than its third quarter rate, it was below the age group's rate one year earlier. None of these bobbles are statistically significant. The homeownership rate of the age group peaked at 65.7 percent in 2007. It bottomed out at 55.0 in the fourth quarter of 2016. The current rate is much closer to the bottom than the top.

What about their younger counterparts? Householders aged 30 to 34 were once the nation's first-time home buyers—defined as the age group in which the homeownership rate first surpasses 50 percent. The homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds climbed in the fourth quarter, reaching 48.9 percent. But again, this rate is not statistically different from the rate one year earlier. The homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds peaked at 55.3 percent in 2007, fell below 50 percent in 2011, and has been stuck below that level ever since. 

Nationally, the homeownership rate was 65.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, not statistically different from the rate one year earlier. The homeownership rate reached an all-time high of 69.0 percent in 2004.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

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