Homeownership Rate for Under 35 at Lowest Ever Measured

The United States government has measured the homeownership rate for people under 35 since the last quarter of 1993. Never before has that homeownership rate been as low as it is now. Furthermore, this rate did not peak under Barack Obama, but in 2004 under George W. Bush.

According to CNS News,

The homeownership rate for Americans under 35 years of age peaked in 2004 and has been trending generally (but not persistently) downward since then, according to data released this week by the Census Bureau.

In the second quarter of 2014, the rate of homeownership among householders who are under 35 dropped to the lowest number ever reported since the Census Bureau first started recording quarterly homeownership rates 21 years ago.

In a news release published this week, the Census Bureau said that the homeownership rate among householders under 35 was 35.9 percent in the second quarter of 2014. That number was not only lower than any quarterly rate going back to the fourth quarter of 1993 (the first quarterly rate reported) but was also lower than any of the annual homeownership rates for under 35s that the Census Bureau has published since 1982.

Note that “homeownership” is defined in a way that includes renting. So this is a good measure of how easy (or difficult) it has been for young adults to start households. Basically if we include annual measures we can go back all the way to Reagan’s first term and see that household ownership has been declining for under-35s since that time.

This study backs up others. For example, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve as I mentioned back in April,

The main reason young families’ balance-sheet recovery lags is the recent housing crash and its lingering effects. The homeownership rate among younger families has plunged, reflecting both the loss of many homes through foreclosure or other distressed sales and delayed entry into homeownership among newly formed households. The house-price gains that have helped mainly older families to rebuild homeowners’ equity have been overshadowed among younger families by the ongoing retreat from homeownership.

Once again, if these living pressures prevent young people from starting families, as seems to be happening, we are going to be dealing with economic damage for a generation or more.