U.S. homeownership rate drops to lowest level since 1998

The homeownership rate had been as high as 69.2 in the second and fourth quarters of 2004, but has mostly declined since then. Homeownership rates in the first quarter this year were highest in the Midwest at 70.4%, and lowest in the West at 60.9%.

Canada’s homeownership rate was at a record high of 70% this winter, according to Scotiabank.

The U.S. rental vacancy rate bounced back up to 9.7% in the first quarter after dropping four of the past five quarters from a peak of 11.1% in the third quarter of 2009. It was previously at 9.4% in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the Census Bureau.

Homeownership rates among whites was highest at 74.1%, the lowest level in about nine years. That compared to 44.8% of blacks being homeowners, the lowest level in 13 years, and 46.8% of Hispanics, which remained level with the previous quarter.

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