Thursday, April 28, 2011

Homeownership in US West slips eight quarters in a row

The census bureau yesterday released its quarterly data on homeownership for the first quarter of 2011. According to the press release:

The homeownership rate of 66.4 percent was 0.7 percentage points (+/-0.4%) lower than the first quarter 2010 rate (67.1 percent) and 0.1 percentage point (+/-0.4%) lower than the rate last quarter (66.5 percent).

At 66.4 percent, the national homeownership rate is now down 4 percent from its 2004 peak when the rate reached 69.2 percent during the second quarter.

In the West census region, which includes Colorado, the homeownership rate for 2011's first quarter is down 6.7 percent from its 2006 peak when the rate reached 65.3 percent during the third quarter. The homeownership rate in the west was down 1.6 percent when comparing the first quarter of this year to the same period last year.

Overall, the homeownership rate in the West census region has been below the national homeownership rate, and has had the lowest homeownership rate of all regions.

It is likely, however, that the regional homeownership rate itself does not closely reflect Colorado's homeownership rate which has been above the national homeownership rate in recent years. Quarterly homeownership rates at the state level are not available, but in the annual data, Colorado has had a higher homeownership rate than the nation since 1999. The Colorado rate peaked at 71.3 percent in 2003. That same year, the national homeownership rate was 68.3 percent. Since then, the gap has narrowed, and in 2009, the Colorado homeownership rate was 68.4 percent and the national rate was 67.4 percent.

Given the quarterly trends released yesterday, it is likely that the Colorado homeownership rate is still slightly, but not substantially, above the national unemployment rate. Given how the gap between the national and Colorado homeownership rates has narrowed since 2008, it is likely that the Colorado rate is now similar to the national rate.