Young Americans are rushing to become homeowners in the pandemic. While the overall homeownership rate dipped slightly in the third quarter from the previous quarter’s high, it continues to grow among those under the age of 35. Americans in that category had a homeownership rate of 40.2% last quarter, up from 37.5% a year earlier, according to newly released U.S. Census Bureau data.

Competition in the housing market has accelerated during the pandemic, and record-low mortgage rates are offering some relief from higher home prices. First-time buyers made up 31% of home sales in September, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

The homeownership rate among those 35 to 44 years old also increased, rising more than three points to 63.9% in the third quarter. Other age groups have the following ownership rates: 72.0% for those ages 45 to 54; 76.4% for those 55 to 64; and 80.7% among those over age 65.

Despite the gains among some age groups, the U.S. homeownership rate in the third quarter still dropped overall to 67.4%, a 0.5% decrease from the second quarter’s highest rate since 2008. Still, the homeownership rate is up from 64.8% a year earlier.

All four major regions of the U.S. saw an increase in annual increases in homeownership rates in the third quarter. Homeownership rates are highest in the Midwest and South at 71.2% and 70.8%, respectively. Meanwhile, homeownership rates are lowest in the Northeast and West, both at 62.0%.

The racial gap in homeownership is concerning, housing analysts note. Non-Hispanic whites have a homeownership rate of 75.8% compared to a 46.4% rate among Blacks, 50.9% among Hispanics, and 61.0% among Asian, native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders, census data shows.

Homeownership Is Growing, Especially Among Younger Age Groups,” Mortgage News Daily (Oct. 27, 2020)