Low Mortgage Rates Helped Boost Homeownership Rate in Q3

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The U.S. homeownership rate increased to 64.8% in the third quarter, up from 64.1% in the second quarter and up from 64.4% in the third quarter of 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Residential Vacancies & Homeownership report.

The national vacancy rate for homeowner housing was 1.4%, up from 1.3% in the second quarter but down from 1.6% in the third quarter of 2018.

The vacancy rate for rental housing was 6.8%, flat compared with the second quarter and down slightly from 7.1% in the third quarter of 2018.

It was the 10th consecutive quarter that the overall homeownership rate grew on a year-over-year basis.

Strong owner versus renter demand combined with low housing inventory helped drive vacancy rates to their lowest since the early 2000s, according to the report.

Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist and executive of research and insights for CoreLogic, says falling mortgage rates ”likely helped some marginal buyers to make the switch from renting to owning” in the third quarter.

“While mortgage rates are typically a third or fourth-order consideration when buying a home, when faced with a supply- and affordability-constrained market, potential homebuyers become more rate sensitive on the upside,” McLaughlin says in a statement. “The sudden increase in the number of owner-occupiers and net decrease in renters across the country reflect this.”

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