US Homeownership Spikes A Year After Hitting 50-year Low

The homeownership rate across the country hit 63.7 percent in the second quarter of the year, according to the Census Bureau. The jump is a full percentage point increase from the same time period last year, the Wall Street Journal reported. In the second quarter of 2016, the homeownership rate was 62.9 percent, a 50-year low, according to the publication.

The increase implies that the downward spiral that followed the financial crisis is on the upswing. The newspaper noted that quarterly reports can be inconsistent, but found there were other factors indicating improvement. The number of new-owner households exceeded new renter ones for the second quarter in a row, for example. There are now more homeowners in the country than any time in the past eight years, Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow, told the newspaper.

“The damage the [2007-09] great recession has done to the homeownership rate is likely reversing course,” Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at home tracker Trulia, told the Journal.

It’s not good news for landlords, who are dealing with high vacancy rates. However, it is provides a boost for new construction, which is good for the economy.

Big companies banking on homeownership rates staying low are scooping up suburban single-family homes across the country. Firms like American Homes 4 Rent, Colony Starwood Homes, Progress Residential and Streetlane Homes have spent $40 billion buying 200,000 houses to rent out across the United States. [WSJ] — Miriam Hall