"The share of Americans who own their homes was 64.8 percent in the first quarter, down from 65.2 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau said in a report today. The rate is the lowest since the second quarter of 1995, when it was 64.7 percent."
Is this a problem? At that low point of 1995, the Clinton administration and HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros started the National Homeownership Strategy, which was intended to make home ownership affordable for the lower middle and working classes. Their goal was to get the homeownership rate back up. One of their plans was to make financing easier to come by for people of modest means (see below). I'm not blaming the housing crash on this program, because the major culprits were the financial institutions. Some things went well for a while, with people getting the benefits of home ownership, but then in the early 2000s, the market went competely crazy. Zillions of crappy condos and blighted HOA properties were slapped together, and lunatic loans were made to people who could never pay, just so they could be securitized and sold, and on and on. It's a long, sad story. However, one question we should ask is how high the homeownership rate should really be. I'm not sure that we need to view this as a problem presently.
-------from the announcement of the NHS:---------
MAKING FINANCING MORE AVAILABLE, AFFORDABLE, and FLEXIBLE. The inability (either real or perceived) of many younger families to qualify for a mortgage is widely recognized as a very serious barrier to homeownership. The National Homeownership Strategy commits both government and the mortgage industry to a number of initiatives designed to: Cut transaction costs through streamlined regulations and technological and procedural efficiences. Reduce downpayment requirements and interest costs by making terms more flexible, providing subsidies to low- and moderate-income families, and creating incentives to save for homeownership. Increase the availability of alternative financing products in housing markets throughout the country.