Yeah, it's a little known market that involves every household in the country and is valued at more than $16 trillion. According to some accounts, it had something to do with the recession.

It seems the media still don't really know much about the market, otherwise we would have seen news articles on the Census Bureau's report on vacancy rates for the 4th quarter. The report showed a substantial drop in vacancy rates from both the last quarter and the fourth quarter of 2009. While vacancy rates are still at historically high levels, this is the first clear decline from the peak vacancy rates reached in 2007. Under the theory that prices are affected by the balance of supply and demand, we should not expect to see house prices finally stabilize until the vacancy rate returns to a more normal level. This report suggests that the market is finally moving toward that point, although it still has far to go.

The report also includes data on homeownership, which showed a further decline. Homeownership rates are now below their 1998 level. On an age-adjusted basis (older people are more likely to be homeowners), the bulk of the increase in ownership rates since the 1990-91 recession has now been reversed.

This information about the state of the housing market and homeownership would have been worth some mention, especially since so many politicians seem to view homeownership as being of great importance.

 

Addendum: It seems that the Wall Street Journal has heard of the Census Bureau.

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