Homeownership Rate Hits an Almost 5-Year High as Gen-X Returns

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. homeownership rate rose to the highest level since 2014, led by a growing share of buyers in their mid-30s and early 40s.

The rate for Americans age 35 to 44 rose to 61.1 percent in the fourth quarter from 58.9 percent a year earlier, according to Census Bureau data released Thursday. For buyers under age 35, the share was 36.5 percent, up from 36 percent.

Homeownership Rate Hits an Almost 5-Year High as Gen-X Returns

The increase signals that some older millennials are spreading out as they start families, and young Generation-Xers are coming back to homeownership after losing properties in the last decade’s real estate crash. The number of owner-occupied households jumped to 1.7 million, the second-most since 2005, the data show. The gain was bigger in the second quarter of last year.

Homeownership Rate Hits an Almost 5-Year High as Gen-X Returns

The population of millennials in prime homebuying age is growing, and slightly older buyers with credit damaged by the crash are now more able to qualify for a mortgage, said Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist from CoreLogic Inc.

The census data suggest “the appetite for homeownership rests in the more-affordable segment of the housing market,” McLaughlin said in an interview. “The demographic structure is going to support healthy demand at the mid- to low range of the housing market.”

The homeownership rate for all Americans was 64.8 percent, up from 64.2 percent a year earlier and the highest since the first quarter of 2014.

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