Homeownership Rates Drop to Lowest Level Since 1999, Home Prices Up in May

hown0210New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that rental vacancy rates in the US remained nearly the same in the second quarter as compared to the same time period in 2009 at 10.6 percent.  As a further sign of the continuing shift in housing market, the homeownership rate of 66.9 percent was 0.5 percentage points lower than the second quarter 2009 rate (67.4 percent) and 0.2 percentage points lower than the rate last quarter (67.1 percent).  The number of vacant homes for sale remained steady at 2.5 percent compared to the second quarter of 2009 but remains elevated when compared to historical levels.  In 1996, the homeowner vacancy rate was at 1.6%.

According to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 metropolitan areas for May 2010, prices of previously owned single-family homes rose 1.3% in May over April and 4.6% over May 2009.  The increase represents the second straight month of price increases but with the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit, future trends for prices remain uncertain as some homes subject to the tax credit will take until September to close.