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'Real' Homeownership Rate at Nearly 50-Year Low

Adjusted figures look worse than official ones
A foreclosed home in Islip, New York.

A foreclosed home in Islip, New York. Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

So much for President George W. Bush’s “ownership society.” The real rate of homeownership—subtracting people who are about to be ejected for not paying their mortgage—has fallen to lows not seen since the mid-1960s, according to a new analysis.

The decline in the Census Bureau’s official measure of homeownership is bad enough. It slid to 65 percent this year from 69 percent in 2005 and 2006, at the peak of the housing bubble, when buying a home was universally considered a sensible way to secure one’s fortune. But things look even worse when you strip out homeowners whose homes are in foreclosure or who are headed for foreclosure because they are 90 days or more delinquent on mortgage payments.