Homeownership Rates in Select Countries

The formula to calculate the homeownership rate of a country, state or locality is simple: divide the number of owner-occupied units by the total number of occupied housing units. Determining homeownership rates, however, is one of the more formidable tasks for researchers given the vast amount of data needed on which to formulate a reliable estimate. Required data include an inventory (or statistically-valid sample), of housing stock, demographic information on households and ultimately an assessment of whether or not the current resident is the actual owner.

These type of studies are usually completed in connection with a census, though interim housing-specific surveys, such as the American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, provide a basis for an estimate.

The Pew Research Center has listed 42 countries (all members of the OECD, the European Union and Singapore, and notes that the U.S. ranks 34th out of 42 states. This is down from a pre-housing bubble peak of 69.2 percent in 2004. Today, the U.S. sits at what is considered a now long-term normal of 65 percent.

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So why the vast difference from one country to another?

Tax incentives, government targets and incentives, demographics and even the availability (or lack thereof) of rental properties all impact the homeownership rate.

To read the complete article from the Pew Research Center click http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/08/06/around-the-world-governments-promote-home-ownership/

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