The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest in more than 50 years as rising prices put buying out of reach for many renters.
The share of Americans who own their homes was 62.9 percent in the second quarter, the lowest since 1965, according to a Census Bureau report Thursday. It was the second straight quarterly decrease, down from 63.5 percent in the previous three months.
The drop extends a years-long decline from the last housing boom, in part because of tight credit and a shift toward renting in the aftermath of the crash. First-time buyers have been struggling to find affordable properties as low mortgage rates and an improving job market spur competition for a tight supply of listings. Home prices rose 5.2 percent in May from a year earlier, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of values in 20 cities released this week.
“One of the biggest hurdles now is affordability,” Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina, said before the Census Bureau report was released. “Home prices are rising so much faster than incomes, so it’s hard for buyers to save for a down payment.”