2017 closed with the homeownership rate improving, but at a slight standstill: 64.2 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Quarterly Housing Vacancies and Homeownership Report. The figure is marginal progress from the third quarter of the year, when the rate registered 63.9 percent. The rate was 63.7 percent at the end of 2016.
One statistic is telling. Owner households, or homes owned by their residents, comprised 56.4 percent of all homes occupied in the fourth quarter of 2017, the report reveals—a boost from 55.7 percent in the third quarter. Renter households, or homes rented by their residents, comprised 31.4 percent—unchanged from the prior quarter. The expanding gap, though minor, is moving the needle.
Again, the Midwest held the highest homeownership rate at year-end, at 68.7 percent—a clear outcome, given its affordability relative to the rest of the U.S. (According to the National Association of REALTORS®, in December, the median Midwest price was $191,400—below the fourth quarter median national price recorded by the Census: $197,000.) In the Northeast, the homeownership rate posted 60.6 percent; in the South, 65.8 percent; and in the West, 60 percent.
One could-be factor in the future homeownership rate is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—though its effects are not yet evident, homeowners are concerned the legislation could prove unfavorable. The Q1 2018 homeownership rate will be released in April.
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