We are back to the 1990s when it comes to homeownership.
Nationally, the percentage of homeowners has dropped from a high of more than 69 percent in the early 2004 down to 65.4 percent at the end of the first quarter, Bloomberg News reports.
It's the lowest since 1997. And it appears to be an accelerating trend - the homeownership rate has dropped a full percentage point over the last year alone. When it comes to statistics, that qualifies as a plunge, not just a drop.
In fact, experts are predicting continued declines for the rest of this decade - at the current pace that could push the homeownership rate below 60 percent by 2020.
Yet despite the gloomy national numbers, this is one trend Massachusetts is bucking.
Probably because it is so expensive to buy here, we never reached the homeownership highs seen in the rest of the country.
Our rate peaked relatively late at 65.7 percent when the Great Recession hit in 2008, edging down to 65.3 last year, according to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
There's another reason for this as well. Foreclosures, while not insignificant, represent only a fraction of the real estate market here.
In states like Nevada or Arizona, a flood of foreclosures has been a driving factor in pushing down the homeownership rate.
Still, it is probably safe to say that the decades-long trend towards greater levels of homeownership has at the very least peaked here in Massachusetts.
Homeownership actually dipped in the Bay State back in the 1980s before steadily rebounding during the 1990s and 2000s, rising from just under 59 percent to more than 65 percent today.
So what's your take? Do you still believe in homeownership? Or is renting the wave of the future now?
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