Homeownership Reaches 15-Year Low

Homeownership in the U.S. has hit a 15-year low. During the first quarter of 2012, the homeownership rate in the U.S. fell to 65.4 percent, down from 66 percent for the past three quarters according to the Census Bureau.
Home in a shopping cartHomeownership hasn’t been this low since Bill Clinton was the Commander-in-Chief and the X-Files was still a hit on television. Of course, the main reasons for the decline in homeownership is due to borrower’s losing their homes to foreclosure, a limited inventory of homes and strict mortgage standards affecting potential homeowners throughout the country.
This creates quite a quagmire for would-be homeowners. Even though housing prices have fallen and mortgage rates are at lows, access to mortgage credit is extremely tight as lenders are very particular in who and how they help after the burst of the housing bubble a few years ago.
So where is the good news lurking behind the decline of homeowners in the U.S.?
Home price declines are decelerating while most major markets are seeing home values reaching a bottom from which to finally build up. Experts predict that most major markets will reach their bottom by year’s end.
Furthermore, pending home sales have reached their highest level since 2010.
“First quarter sales closings were the highest first quarter sales in five years.  The latest contract signing activity suggests the second quarter will be equally good,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors.
The strict mortgage standards will help to ensure that a repeat of the sub-prime mortgages epidemic that put the housing industry in such a mess does not happen again.
How do Chicagoland homeowners feel about the current state of the real estate market? Have we turned the corner yet? Please leave us your comments.