Big shift taking place in home ownership rates

The real estate bubble and the subsequent burst in the past eight years has meant fundamental changes to the industry, but home ownership rates show some of those changes were taking place much earlier.

This week CoreLogic, a national provider of financial and property information, released a report on the latest housing and mortgage trends. The latest report was interesting in that a big part of it focused on the changes in homeownership rates: While overall home ownership was up in 2010 compared to 1980 (65.1 percent compared to 64.4) it's steadily dropping in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups, which tend to be the prime home-buying years.

In the 25-34 age group, homeownership dropped from 51.6 percent in 1980 to 42 percent in 2010.

For the 35-44 group, homeownership dropped from 71.2 percent to 62.3 percent during the same period.

While some of this trend can be discounted because the U.S. is getting older demographically, the authors of the report offered some other possibilities. This includes real median income remaining stagnant in those prime home-buying age groups while home prices have gone up; delays in labor force participation by the younger group, which includes staying in school longer; the trend of delaying marriage; and changing migration patterns.

With income stagnant and home and rental prices rising, the report found families are allocating a bigger percentage of income toward housing. In 2010, homeowners spent 33.2 percent on housing, up from 31.9 percent in 2005. Renters spent 38.4 percent on housing, up from 35.6 percent in the same period. Naturally if families are spending more on housing, they have less to save or spend on non-housing items.

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