Homeownership Bottoms Out

The U.S. homeownership rate has declined to a 15-year low, according to the Wall Street Journal:

The homeownership rate fell in the first quarter to the lowest level in 15 years as more Americans lost homes to foreclosure and shifted to renting amid the weak economic recovery.

Economists say the rate could slip further. While low mortgage-interest rates and falling home prices have made homes more affordable than at any time in the past decade, mortgage-lending standards remain tight. Also, more Americans may feel less confident about property ownership after the steep price declines of the past six years.

The Census Bureau said Monday that the homeownership rate fell to 65.4% at the end of March, the same level as in early 1997.