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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Homeownership Plummets and No One Notices

Homeownership Plummets and No One Notices

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 04:56

Okay, neither part of that one is exactly right. According to the Census Bureau the unadjusted rate of homeownership in the first quarter of 2013 dropped by 0.4 percentage points to 65.0 percent. The seasonally adjusted rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 65.2 percent. This may not be a "plunge" exactly, but either way you would have to go back to 1995 to find a lower rate of homeownership. (Can we get Alan Greenspan out here to give us another lecture on the glories of subprime and other innovative mortgages?)

It's also not quite right that no one noticed. There are some business reporters who have heard of the Census Bureau. Mark Lieberman had a piece highlighting the new data.

Comments (4)Add Comment
Dean Baker Misunderestimates Success for Misoverestimated Statistical Noise
written by Last Mover, May 01, 2013 6:08
Isn't there a commemorative plaque in the George W Bush library about faith based home ownership and how it restored America to glory days of past great generations?

Surely Dean Baker is aware that when such an exceptional President over public property manages to raise the ownership society to record levels of private property based on gut feelings alone, small variations downward from that level are confirmations of success, not failure.
other statistically significant data
written by Squeezed turnip, May 01, 2013 8:10
Turns out that the drop is located mainly in the South (whatever that means. Atlanta?), according to the report. Interesting.

I also noticed that profits in the retail and manufacturing sectors are up significantly over last year. I presume we'll be begin to feel the trickle on our heads at any moment now.
back before James Johnsons big push...
written by pete, May 01, 2013 9:52
Yes, the mid 90s, the beginning of the housing bubble, were indeed the direct result of regulatory capture (will they never learn). Clever ideas, let the poor own homes instead of Section 8 rentals. People take care of things they own, was the word. As usual a good idea captured by greedy folks like Johnson and his buddies. Fannie was heavily lobbying inner city congresspeople to keep the regulators off their back...E.g., Fannie bonds did not have to have SEC approval. Not that that captured agency would have mattered. The bubble was in full swing by the end of the Clinton admin, and then they Clinton codified the swaps deregulation. Finally, in 2004 Ameriquest and others began fast track lending in earnest, leading to the last gasp of the bubble.
written by PeonInChief, May 01, 2013 11:21
The most interesting thing to me isn't the homeownership rate, but that rents continued to rise even as the vacancy rate remained high. It tends to confirm John Gilderbloom's argument that rents aren't correlated with supply and demand except in rare circumstances--and it requires a very high vacancy rate before it has any impact at all.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.