How Homeownership Rates Have Changed Over the Past 25 Years Characteristics

The housing market tends to take more twists and turns than a rural mountain road, and for good reason. A slight change in an economic or social factor can have a huge impact on the market. Take a look at how the ongoing global pandemic has affected domestic housing markets – or how a recent recession or period of growth has affected the market – for proof.

As the housing market evolves and changes due to outside factors, so do homeownership rates in the United States. But while global conflicts, wars, or recessions can have a big impact on homeownership rates, these events may not have the kinds of impacts you would expect. In fact, the types of events that you think should cause homeownership rates to fall or rise can have the exact opposite effects.

Take, for example, how the years 2004 to 2006 saw some of the highest homeownership rates overall. These high rates of homeownership occurred just a few years after a recession caused by the September 11, 2001 attack in New York City. In theory, the recession and the bombings should have caused homeownership rates to drop due to low consumer confidence, but the opposite has happened.

On the flip side, the years 2015 to 2017 saw some of the lowest homeownership rates, despite the economy being booming and unemployment rates extremely low. It would make sense for a thriving economy to result in high rates of homeownership, but that’s not what happened during this time.

So what exactly is driving the constantly fluctuating homeownership rates across the country? And what events have taken place over the past 25 years to change homeownership rates? Better Mortgage, an online lenders and homeownership platform with a free mortgage calculator, analyzed US Census Bureau vacant home and homeownership data to determine the evolution of homeownership rates over the past 25 years.

This data includes information on homeownership rates for the entire United States, as well as a breakdown by region: Northeast, Midwest, South and West; age; and the fiscal quarter with the most recent data covering the third quarter of 2021.

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