U.S. Homeownership Rate Rises for the Second Time This Year

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The U.S. homeownership rate rose for the second time this year as improving employment drove demand for property purchases.

The share of Americans who own their homes was 63.9 percent in the third quarter, according to a Census Bureau report Tuesday. It was up from 63.7 percent in the previous three months and 63.5 percent a year earlier.

The housing market has benefited from strong job growth, with the unemployment rate falling in September to 4.2 percent, its lowest since February 2001. Low mortgage rates and easing credit standards are helping more renters become buyers, but rising prices and a tight supply of listings are still keeping many people on the sidelines. The third-quarter increase in the homeownership rate wasn’t statistically significant, according to census data.

“The American Dream of homeownership remains elusive, as the third-quarter figure shows little change in the overall rate,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “The reason is simple. There is just not enough supply of homes to fully satisfy the desire to own.”

The homeownership rate is up from a low of 62.9 in the middle of last year. It reached a peak of 69.2 percent in June 2004.

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