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U.S. Census Homeownership Data

Did You Know: While US homeownership rates were down, Census data shows that homeownership rates were roughly unchanged in most small areas comparing 2007-2009 with 2010-2012.

  • On November 14, the Census Bureau released a review of homeownership rates and housing values based on data from the American Community Survey (ACS) 3-year estimates. These estimates are based on surveys of homeowners from a broad, 3-year period that enable researchers to examine trends in more localized areas, places with populations as small as 20,000. (The 1-year estimates from the ACS cover areas with populations of 65,000 or more.)
  • This period was a tumultuous one for the national economy and for many housing markets, but today’s data from the Census emphasizes the fact that real estate is local and that many smaller areas of the country handled the recession and housing crisis better than larger cities.
  • While the national homeownership rate measured by the ACS fell 1.7 percentage points from 66.4 in 2007-2009 to 64.7 in 2010-2012, nine states did not show a decline in ownership in the same period. These were Vermont, Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
  • A look at data by county and metro area shows that most populous counties and metro areas were more likely to see declines in homeownership. 46 of the 50 most populous counties and 49 of the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas had lower home ownership rates in 2010-2012 than 2007-2009.
  • Take a look at the map of changes in home ownership to see that while some areas matched the national trend of decline in this period, most areas saw rough stability or some saw gains in home ownership in this period. This map shows that compared to home price changes, home ownership changes show a more varied regional distribution pattern. How did your market fare?
  • The ACS data is based on surveys of homeowners. The 2007-2009 estimates are based on surveys taken from January 2007 to December 2009. The 2010-2012 estimates are based on surveys taken from January 2010 to December 2012.

Danielle Hale, Director of Housing Statistics

As a Research Economist at NAR, Danielle studies tax issues, the wealth impact of home ownership, and different measures of home prices.

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