Not only is homeownership the key component of the American Dream, the home is the largest store of wealth for the majority of American families. Good news is that homeownership is increasing in the U.S. once again. After the U.S. homeownership rate peaked at 69.2 percent in 2004 (driven by the unthrottled availability of subprime lending), it dropped to 62.9 percent in Q2 2016 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Since then it has risen to 64.8 percent as of Q3 2019.
State homeownership data are tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, with 2018 data the latest available. The homeownership rate varies significantly by state ranging from a high of 72.5 percent in West Virginia to a low of 53.7 percent in New York. Data for all 50 states and related housing metrics aggregated by 24/7 Wall Street are shown in the following table.
There is a vast array of factors impacting homeownership levels ranging from affordability to rental rates. No one factor determines overall state homeownership levels as is obvious in the table, but affordability is key.
To view the U.S. homeownership rate by quarter since 1997 from the U.S. Census Bureau click https://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/files/currenthvspress.pdf
The entire USA Today article on state-by-state homeownership rates can be accessed at https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/11/01/states-with-highest-lowest-homeownership/40479391/
Homeownership is not the optimum housing solution for all households. Given transaction costs, if the stay at the current location is three years or less then renting may be a financially superior decision. Homeownership requires a significant down payment and related closing costs, plus annual property taxes, insurance, maintenance and often either Home Owners Association Fees (HOA) or Condo fees. Not all households can qualify for a mortgage loan given credit issues.
Homeownership comparison by state, metro or city warrants invoking the TINSTAANREM Clause — There Is No Such Thing As A National Real Estate Market. The same is true when examining homeownership rates.