The homeownership rate increased YoY in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 65.8%, according to the latest data from the Commerce Department. This is 0.7% points higher than in the fourth quarter of 2019 (65.1%) and 1.6% points lower than Q3 of 2020 (67.4%).
Vacancy rates have remained nearly unchanged, at 6.5% for rental housing and 1.0% for homeowner housing—these are not much different than the 6.4% rental vacancy rate in Q3 of 2020 and Q4 of 2019. The homeownership vacancy rate was 0.5% points lower YoY, but not statistically different from the Q3 2019 rate of 0.9%.
According to the commerce department, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, data collection operations for the CPS/HVS were affected during the fourth quarter of 2020. They released the following statement:
“In-person interviews were only allowed for portions of the sample in October (100%), November (98%) and December (84%). If the Field Representative was unable to get contact information on the sample unit, the unit was made a Type A non-interview (no one home, refusal, etc.). We are unable to determine the extent to which this data collection change affected our estimates.”