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The homeownership rate increased YoY in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 65.8 percent, according to the latest data from the Commerce Department. This is 0.7 percentage points higher than in the fourth quarter of 2019 (65.1 percent) and 1.6 percentage points lower than Q3 of 2020 (67.4 percent).

Vacancy rates have remained nearly unchanged, at 6.5 percent for rental housing and 1.0 percent for homeowner housing—these are not much different than the 6.4 percent rental vacancy rate in Q3 of 2020 and Q4 of 2019. The homeownership vacancy rate was 0.5 percentage points lower YoY, but not statistically different from the Q3 2019 rate of 0.9 percent.

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 percent), November (98 percent) and December (84 percent). 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.”