Homeownership Rises for the First Time in 2 Years

There’s plenty of talk about the growing number of consumers — especially younger adults — who are choosing to rent instead of buying a home. But that hasn’t stopped the nation’s homeownership rate from rising, even if that jump is a small one.

 

This story from HousingWire cites numbers from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Census Bureau showing that the country’s homeownership rate increased in the third quarter of this year. This is the first time in two years that this rate has risen.

 

According to the story, the homeownership rate hit 63.7% in the third quarter of this year. That’s up a bit from 63.4% in the second quarter.

 

That tiny increase — .3% — might not seem like much. But it is significant in that the homeownership rate has been declining during the last two years and actually hit a 48-year low in the second quarter.

 

Even with the third-quarter jump, the homeownership rate is still lower than were it was last year at this time. In the third quarter of 2014, the U.S. homeownership rate stood at 64.4 percent.

 

The rate is also falling in the Midwest. According to the story, the homeownership rate in the Midwest fell to 68.1% in the third quarter from 68.4% in the second.

 

I expect the country’s homeownership rate to only increase in the coming quarters. That’s because the country’s economy is slowly but steadily getting healthier. As unemployment, hopefully, continues to fall, more people will feel financially secure enough to buy a home.

 

At the same time, new mortgage rules haven’t made it as difficult to qualify for a mortgage as some critics expected. That is good news. If more people quality for home loans, more will also buy homes in the near future.

 

Owning a home is still part of the American dream. When you have a home, you not only have a place to live, you have an investment. If you hold onto your home for long enough, though no one can guarantee this, the odds are high that it will increase in value.

 

If you’ve been holding off on buying a home, now is the time to make a move. Interest rates on mortgage loans remain at near historic lows, and home prices in the Chicago area remain at affordable levels.