If you were hoping the homeownership rate had stabilized, sorry. The latest drop is statistically small but keeps this measure of "the American Dream" near a decades-low level.

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The Great Recession continues to kick the rate of American homeownership around the parking lot. Despite improving house prices, the ownership rate fell in the first quarter to a nearly half-century low of 63.5 percent nationally, according to the Census Bureau.

That’s 0.2 percentage point lower than in the same quarter last year and 0.3 point below the fourth quarter. The data are not seasonally adjusted.

The first quarter rate for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area was 57.7 percent. That marks a significant drop from the same period in 2014, when the rate was 61.3 percent.

Blame it on the Technopolis effect. San Francisco’s rate was 58.1 percent and Silicon Valley and San Diego 50.9 percent. Even land-rich Austin clocked in at 59.1 percent.

Portland’s first quarter rate was 64.4 percent.

Nationally, homeownership peaked at 69.2 percent in 2004 as subprime loans and the housing bubble were raising the number of buyers. The rate was at 64.2 percent at the beginning of 1995, around 67 percent in 1999.

Also, homeownership is not necessarily synonymous with dynamic economic health: the rate in Akron, Ohio, was 71.2 percent; 73.5 percent in metro Detroit.

Still, the combination of deflation of the housing bubble, consumer debt and builder/lender caution continues to affect this measure of “the American Dream.”


Today’s Econ Haiku:

Comcast’s buying who?

It’s what monopolies do

Take rents from dreams, work