The U.S. homeownership rate has slumped to its lowest level since the first quarter of 2000.
But look at the graphic within the above link and it’s somewhat surprising to see that the rate is still not that much higher than what it was in 1965 (67.1 percent versus 63 percent). One would think the rate in the ’60s was about, oh, 50 percent. Then you have to remember that it was the Dick Van Dyke era: Small ranches, Capes, bungalows, all affordable, often backed up by GI Bill loans, and a booming economy.
What should be the normal homeownership rate today? Hard to say. A lot of people were discriminated against when it came to mortgage loans in the ‘60s (blacks, women, etc.), so 63 percent was and is unacceptably too low. Maybe we’re at the “normal” rate now, after shooting way too high during the second half of last decade, though the rate will probably move up a few notches if and when the economy picks up.
Also note the current U.S. rental vacancy rate. It’s still high by historical standards.
An extra bonus chart: Who funded the recent housing bubble. It explains it well. Bottom line: Securitization of mortgages (and then selling them off to sap investors) made it all possible.