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According to estimates published by the Commerce Department the homeownership rate ticked up slightly in the fourth quarter, lifting economists’ hopes that it may finally be hitting bottom. The homeownership rate, not seasonally adjusted, ticked up slightly to 63.8% from 63.7% in the third quarter. It is also up from a 48-year low of 63.4% in the second quarter
Regionally, the homeownership rates were highest in the Midwest (68.1 percent) and lowest in the West (59.0 percent). The homeownership rates in all four regions were not statistically different from the rates in the fourth quarter 2014.
Experts say one reason the homeownership rate could be ticking up, some of the 9 million owners who lost their homes to foreclosure, short sale or another distressed event could finally be returning to the market. There was a significant improvement in the homeownership rate among people ages 35 to 44, who were among the worst hit during the foreclosure crisis. The homeownership rate among that group increased to 59.3% from 58.1%.