18+ Intriguing Home Ownership Statistics for 2020

The homeownership rate in the US is less than two-thirds of the population, dropping down to only one third when looking at Americans under the age of 34.

The current homeownership rate in the US is slightly less than two-thirds of the population, dropping down to only one third when looking at Americans under the age of 34. Rising house prices combined with the rising cost of renting is making it difficult for young people to get on the property ladder. 

Since the 2008 recession, the rate has dropped across all ages; especially amongst young people. The following statistics reveal some interesting facts and changing trends in the US and around the world.

The Most Compelling Home Ownership Stats (Editor’s Choice):

  • White people, on average, are 50% more likely to own homes than people of other races.
  • Real estate prices have risen as much as 73% since 2000.
  • Romania has the highest rate in the world sitting at 96.4%.
  • The national rate of homeownership in the US is 64.8%.
  • First-time buyers make up only 33% of all home buyers.

Home Ownership Statistics

1. The national rate of homeownership in the US is 64.8%.

(Source: US Census Bureau)

Data from the US Census Bureau indicates the current rate in the US is 64.8%. This is an increase since the year 2016, which had a rate of 63.5%. Prior to 2016, the rate steadily declined; it was above 69% back in 2004.

2. Romania has the highest homeownership rate in the world at 96.4%

(Source: BBC)

After communist rule ended back in 1990, the government began selling properties at extremely low rates. In addition, the country introduced the First Home program in 2009 to help first-time buyers struggling after the 2008 financial crisis. As a result, the vast majority of Romanians are now homeowners.

3. The Midwest has the highest number of homeowners in the US.

(Source: The Balance)

In the American Midwest, 68.3% of people are homeowners, with the South coming in as a close second with 65.9%. The West has the lowest percentage in all the US with only 59.7%.

4. White people, on average, are 50% more likely to own homes than other races.

(Source: Eye on Housing)

When looking at homeownership by race and ethnicity, we see a fairly large discrepancy. Whereas about 64% of white (non-Hispanic) people own homes, only 47% of ethnic minorities are homeowners. The rate is lowest among black people (43%) and Hispanics follow suit with 46%. Ownership amongst other minorities, including Asian Americans, is around 57%.

5. Young people have seen the biggest dip in homeownership over the past decade.

(Source: US Census Bureau)

When considering the homeownership rate by age, we see some interesting trends. While all ages groups have experienced a decline in homeownership since the 2008 recession, those aged under 44 have seen the most drastic reduction. Citizens aged 65 and over have remained relatively stable, with the highest level of homeownership at around 80%.

But wait, there’s more:

6. Approximately one third (33%) of all home buyers are first-time buyers.

(Source: US Census Bureau)

Many buyers in the real estate market already own at least one other property, making the percentage of first-time buyers quite low. Of the 33% of first-time buyers, the majority are Millennials born between 1981 and 1996. When considering home ownership by age demographics, those over 65 years old are still the majority.

7. Population growth will require the construction of 2 billion new homes by 2100.

(Source: We Forum)

With the rapidly expanding global population, current estimates suggest that at least 2 billion new homes will be needed by the end of the century. Population statistics from the UN indicate a potential for growth to over 11.2 billion people by the year 2100.

Homeowners vs Renters Statistics

8. 36.6% of households rent out their homes.

(Source: iProperty Management)

Over a third of homeowners rent out their homes, an increase of 5.4% compared to 2016. The rental vacancy rate has also increased, up from 6.9% in 2009 to 7.2% in 2018.

9. The average cost of rent has increased by 61%.

(Source: iProperty Management)

Average rent payments over the past 50 years in most US have increased by 61%, making it much harder for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder. Median rent income has increased by only 5%.

10. Homeownership rate stats reveal real estate prices have risen as much as 73% since 2000.

(Source: CNBC)

Homeownership in the US is becoming less affordable as house prices continue to rise at a much faster rate than the average income. Nevertheless, income growth amongst well-educated, young professionals has increased, creating an even wider gap between the rich and poor.

11. An interesting home ownership percentage: almost 50% of renters live alone and just 22% are couples.

(Source: iProperty Management)

Most renters live alone, with only 22% living as couples and the rest in groups of three or more. Of the 136.57 million housing units in the US, 930,000 are rentals.

Speaking of which…

12. New York is the most expensive state to rent, followed by California and Massachusetts.

(Source: Home Snacks)

When comparing homeowners vs renters statistics by state we find a clear correlation between rental costs and home prices. New York is the most expensive state when buying and renting property is concerned with an average home costing $1,901,222 and monthly rent costing $2,950. 

Moreover, if you’re thinking of moving to the Golden State you best start saving: an average home in California is $1,243,239 and rent is around $2,800. Rent in Massachusetts is as high as $2,500 a month but an average property would cost you only $663,942, making it a good choice for buy-to-renters.

13. West Virginia is the cheapest place to rent, with Oklahoma in second and Kansas third, according to homeownership rates.

(Source: Home Snacks)

Yup, head over to West Virginia if you want to pay some cheap rent. An average place there will cost you no more than $975 a month. Oklahoma follows suit with $1,000 and Kansas a close third with $1,025.  

14. West Virginia is the cheapest for buying property as well, at only $169,000 on average.

(Source: Smart Asset)

A Smart Asset survey found West Virginia had the cheapest real estate costs, with Arkansas a close second at $179,000, and Alabama taking third place. Most cheap housing options are around the Midwest, with Mississippi, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Kentucky all in the top 10 cheapest areas to buy.

The Latest Owner-Occupied Housing Statistics

Owner-occupied housing estates are homes in which the owners live themselves, rather than renting the property out (to someone else).

15. There are 79.36 million owner-occupied homes in the US.

(Source: Statista)

Owner-occupied housing in the US has steadily increased since 2014, following a minor dip in 2013. Since 1975, owner-occupied housing has almost doubled — there were 46.87 million of them back then.

16. 65% of homes are owner-occupied, according to the national US homeownership rate.

(Source: US Census Bureau)

This is lower than the global average but higher than most countries in Western Europe, where the vast majority rents out their homes. In the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, less than 50% of homes are owner-occupied. At only 10%, Nigeria in Africa has one of the lowest owner-occupied housing rates in the world.

But that’s not all:

17. How many homeowners in the US are first-time buyers (and married)? 40%, a huge downgrade from 52% (back in the late ‘80s).

(Source: Zillow)

These days, fewer first-time buyers are married couples that buy homes to live in. Many first-time buyers are, in fact, single people looking for buy-to-rent opportunities. Moreover, people are getting married somewhat later in life — a statistic that has been cited as the main reason behind this phenomenon.

18. The national vacancy rate of households in the US is just 1.6%.

(Source: iProperty Management)

Very few homes sit empty in the US, as opposed to a slightly higher rate of 2.6% in the UK. The vacancy rate in the US has dropped since 2008 when it was as high as 2.8%. However, homeownership has also dropped over the same period.

19. The current rates are equivalent to the rates from the ‘70s.

Current rates are equal to those of the ‘70s. There was a minor dip in homeownership during the ‘80s, plateauing at 69.5% in the mid-’00s. They dropped a second time, but after 2016 they made a mild recovery.

Bottom Line

As these home ownership statistics reveal, an increasing number of people are struggling to save enough money to get on the property ladder at a young age. Rising rental costs equals more people living in the homes they buy. Yet, despite this, fewer people are able to get out of the rental situation in the first place. 

What’s more, stats show how college and university-educated citizens are still able to get on the property ladder sooner despite rising student debt. Interestingly, overall homeownership is typically higher in poorer countries like Romania, India, and China and lower in the US and wealthier EU nations.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the homeownership rate?

(Source: Eurostat)

The homeownership rates in the UK (65%), France (65%), New Zealand (64.8%), and Australia (65%) are similar to that of the US (64.8%). Some surprising rates include Switzerland with an extremely low rate of only 42.5% and Romania with an incredibly high rate of 96.4%.

2. What country has the highest home ownership?

(Source: Eurostat)

Romania has the highest rate in the world at 96.4% — so high, in fact, that it was recently the focus of a BBC news article. Singapore has the second-highest rate at 91%, slightly above Croatia, Slovakia, and Lithuania each with approximately 90%.

3. What percentage of Americans own homes?

(Source: US Census Bureau)

Currently, the national rate is 64.8% according to the latest Census statistics. Recent rates on homeownership in the US peaked in 2004 at nearly 70%, steadily decreasing until 2016 when they hit a low of 62.9%. They have since begun an upward spiral with only a minor dip in early 2019.

Now, looking at homeownership rates by race we see a clear change in trends. Between 1990 and 2015, the percentage of white homeowners dropped by 16%, whereas homeownership amongst Hispanics, Asian Americans, and African Americans all increased by 9%, 3%, and 2% respectively. What’s more, Asian Americans have the highest rate after (non-Hispanic) white homeowners at a solid 57.6% (compared to their 73.7%).

4. What percentage of Millennials own their own home?

(Source: Urban.org)

The rate amongst Millennials (born between 1981–1997) is 32.2%. Delayed marriage is noted as a significant factor in delaying homeownership, with statistics indicating that married couples are 18% more likely to purchase a home. Further statistics show that 54.8% of Millennials under the age of 24 still live at home with their parents.

5. What percentage of homes are owned free and clear?

(Source: Bloomberg)

The percentage of US households owned free and clear is a fair 37% according to Bloomberg’s data analysis from Zillow. The past decade has seen a 5.5% rise in homeowners paying off their mortgages. Hopefully, this trend continues in the coming years as well.

6. What is the average age to buy a house?

(Source: US Census Bureau)

In the US, amongst Baby boomers (born between 1946–1964) the rate is at its highest at 75%. In addition, 60% of Gen Xers (born between 1965–1980) own homes, and only 32.2% of Millenials (born between 1981–1997) are homeowners.

Technically, the average age in the US to buy a home is 46 years old — although this includes ALL home buyers, not just first-time buyers. First-time buyers make up only 33% of all home buyers, the majority of which are Millennials as the homeownership rate in the US suggests.

In both the US and the UK, the average age to buy a first home is 33 years old, up from 31 a decade ago. The monthly cost of a mortgage is almost half that of the average monthly rent but these high rents mean young people are struggling to save enough money to buy homes.

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