us home owernship rate

Photo: Phillip Capper/Flickr

The US homeownership rate in the fourth quarter of 2014 hit its lowest level in nearly two decades as fewer Americans choose to — or are able to — own their homes. The US Department of Commerce reported that the homeownership rate declined to 64 percent, a 1.2 percent drop from the same period in 2013.

It was also the lowest rate recorded since the first quarter of 1994 when 63.8 percent of American households owned their homes.

Altogether, about 74.6 million American households owned their homes in the fourth quarter, while 42 million were renting. The Economist’s Outlook report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) pointed to the surge in rentals, noting that, compared to 10 years ago, the number of households that owned their home fell by about 1 million while renter households increased by nearly 10 million.

As for the future, “a further drop is likely this year before finally settling down in the upcoming years.”

Prior to the US housing market crash, the rate reached as high as 69.4 percent during the second quarter of 2004.

Here’s a look at the homeownership rate going all the way back to 1980, as well as how rates have differed across the regions of the US over the years:

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