CHART OF THE DAY: America's Love Affair With The House

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The U.S. home ownership rate has declined to 66.5%, the lowest level since 1998, according to the latest housing vacancies and home ownership report (via Diana Olick).

That’s not entirely surprising. Prices are falling, and there’s little market expectation they’re going to rise anytime soon, so buyers are choosing not to get in. High supply is also keeping prices down and the vacancy rate might be even more alarming.

From the U.S. Census Bureau (emphasis ours):

Approximately 85.9 per cent of the housing units in the United States in the fourth quarter 2010 were occupied and 14.1 per cent were vacant. Owner-occupied housing units made up 57.2 per cent of total housing units, while renter-occupied units made up 28.8 per cent of the inventory in the fourth quarter 2010. Vacant year-round units comprised 10.8 per cent of total housing units, while 3.3 per cent were for seasonal use.

But, when you look at this data, it’s not like the U.S. is completely our of sorts historically. We’ve only fallen back a decade, and that was a decade associated with a housing bubble. So maybe this return to norm is a good thing?

Don’t miss: 12 depressing facts about the housing slump that just won’t go away >

chart of the day, homeownership, jan 2011

Photo: Kamelia Angelova, Business Insider

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