J: One of the more depressing trends of the last decade was the seemingly endless decline in the national homeownership rate. As the chart shows, it peaked in the second quarter of 2004 at 69.4 percent seasonally adjusted.
The February 28 release from the Census Bureau proves conclusively that we are now well past the bottom. We hit 64.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018. That is the highest since the 64.8 percent in the first quarter of 2014. It is just below the second quarter of 1995, which was 64.7 percent.
The bottom was the 63.0 percent posted in the second quarter of 2016. That was the lowest since 1965.
It was particularly encouraging to see the rate for homeowners aged 35-44 rise to 61.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 from 58.9 percent a year earlier. The homeownership rate for people aged 65 and up remained the highest of any age group at 78.8 percent.
This is not just good news for the US economy, but for society as a whole. Much research over more than 100 years has shown that people who own their own homes contribute much more to the country than others. They support charities, cultural activities and governments at all levels at much higher rates than people who do not own their own homes.
Here's hoping this welcome trend continues. We will get data for the first quarter of 2019 on April 25.