Forecast: US homeownership rate to hit low of 62% in 2015

One forecast suggests that homeownership rates in the United States will drop to a low in 2015 before rising by 2025:

All this could push home ownership down to levels not seen at least since before the Census began tracking this data in 1963. Home ownership soared to 70 percent in 2005, but it could fall to 62 percent by 2015, according to the number crunchers at John Burns Real Estate Consulting. They suggest that the effect of foreclosures drops home ownership 5.6 percent, and cyclical trends, like poor consumer confidence, tightening mortgage credit and the weak economy drop it 3 percent. Positive demographic trends would only offset that by 0.7 percent…

Burns believes home ownership will return by 2025 to around 67 percent, as previously foreclosed borrowers return to the housing market, cyclical trends improve and positive demographics start to carry more weight.

This is quite an extended process that first requires foreclosed and underwater loans to get off the books before the homebuyers turn the numbers again. It is interesting that there is little political discussion about the length of this process – does it benefit any current politician to be forthright about how long it might take to turn the housing market around? Do people care that much about homeownership while issues like jobs and debt are also concerns?

If the process does take this much time, it could also lead to a long-term reassessment of real estate. I doubt that people will no longer value owning a home or that homeownership will disappear from the cultural image of the American Dream as some have hinted. However, there is less of a chance it will be considered an investment and people will be more careful with their purchases, particularly paying attention to being able to pay for it even in rough patches.

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