The homeownership rate seems stubbornly stuck only a few percentage points from where it bottomed out in the second quarter of 2016. The U.S. Census Bureau said the national rate in the fourth quarter of 2019 was 65.1 percent compared to 64.8 percent in both the prior quarter and the fourth quarter of 2018. The rate declined from a high of 69.0 percent in the third quarter of 2006 until reaching a low of 62.9 percent almost four years ago.
The homeownership rate among the youngest Americans, those under the age of 35, increased by 1.1-point year-over-year to 37.6 percent. The rate gained a fraction of a point among all other age groups except those 35 to 44 years of age. Their rate declined from 61.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 60.4 percent.
The rate for Black households gained more than a point on an annual basis, growing to 44.0 percent. This is still nearly 30 points lower than for non-Hispanic white households and remains the lowest of any racial or ethnic group. The rate for self-identified Hispanic households also rose by just over a point to 48.1 percent while that for "all other" races was statistically unchanged at 55.7 percent.
The vacancy rates for rental housing and for homeowner housing were both statistically unchanged on an annual basis at 6.4 percent and 1.4 percent respectively. Both types of vacancies were highest in the South at 8.2 percent and 1.6 percent respectively.
The Census Bureau estimated there were 140.1 million housing units in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2019, an increase of 1.2 million since the fourth quarter of 2018. Of the current total, 123.9 million were occupied, 57.6 percent by owners and 30.9 percent by renters.
The median asking rent for vacant units was $1,005 per month. The median sale price for vacant owner units was $226,800.