Homeownership Rates in the United States During the Pandemic
June is National Homeownership Month. Homeownership offers many benefits, including the ability to accumulate wealth, gain access to credit through home equity, reduce housing costs, and accrue savings. Homeownership often is considered part of the American dream, but unfortunately, homeownership is out of reach for many Americans — a problem that has grown more acute during the housing affordability crisis that has unfolded since the pandemic began.
Factors Affecting Homeownership
Many economic factors can suppress homeownership rates, including the inability to save for a downpayment; insufficient credit; debt burdens; regulatory barriers; and, in some cases, discrimination. These factors became more significant during the pandemic as demand for housing surpassed supply, causing a spike in home sales prices nationwide and creating a housing affordability crisis. Unfortunately, these barriers to homeownership impact families of color more than they do white families, exacerbating the racial homeownership gap in the United States. Even with the assistance of family, many Americans lack sufficient savings for a downpayment on a home. Families of color may face discrimination from lenders or be assessed higher lending fees for a mortgage, making homeownership even less attainable for them.
Recent Homeownership Statistics by Region
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the national homeownership rate in the first quarter of 2022 was 65.4 percent, slightly higher than the average homeownership rate of 65.3 percent from 1965 to 2022. The current homeownership rate has remained relatively unchanged since 2021, which saw rates of 65.6 percent in the first quarter, 65.4 percent in the second and third quarters, and 65.5 percent in the fourth quarter. The national homeownership rate reached 67.9 percent in the second quarter of 2020, its highest rate since 2012.
Homeownership rates vary across the United States. Looking at U.S. Census Regions, homeownership rates in the first quarter of 2022 were as follows:
70.0 percent in the Midwest
61.8 percent in the Northeast
67.4 percent in the South
60.2 percent in the West
Historically, the Midwest has had the highest homeownership rate among the four Census Regions, followed by the South, Northeast, and West. Over the past decade, that trend has been largely unchanged, with the exception of the third quarter of 2020, when the Northeast had the lowest homeownership rate, at 62.0 percent.
Homeownership rates among all Census Regions reached their highest level since 2012 in the second quarter of 2020, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among Census Regions, homeownership rates during the second quarter of 2020 were as follows:
71.4 percent in the Midwest
63.3 percent in the Northeast
71.1 percent in the South
62.6 percent in the West
Although homeownership rates declined in all Census Regions following their peak in the second quarter of 2020, the South experienced the greatest decline, with rates falling by 3.7 percent, followed by declines of 2.4 percent in the West, 1.5 percent in the Northeast, and 1.4 percent in the Midwest.
Recent Homeownership Statistics by Race
Homeownership rates also vary substantially by race. During the first quarter of 2022, national homeownership rates by race were as follows:
Non-Hispanic white: 74.0 percent
Black or African American: 44.7 percent
Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander: 59.4 percent
Hispanic or Latino: 49.1 percent
All other races: 56.0 percent
As noted previously, homeownership rates peaked during the second quarter of 2020. During this time, homeownership rates by race were as follows:
Non-Hispanic white: 76.0 percent
Black or African American: 47.0 percent
Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander: 61.4 percent
Hispanic or Latino: 51.4 percent
All other races: 59.3 percent
Homeownership rates declined for all races between the second quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2022, with the greatest decline (3.3 percent) among households in the “all other races” category, followed by declines of 2.3 percent for blacks or African Americans; 2.3 percent for Hispanics or Latinos; 2.0 percent for Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders; and 2.0 percent for non-Hispanic whites.
The strong demand for housing combined with limited supply caused housing prices to spike and created a housing affordability crisis. The lack of affordability triggered a decline in homeownership rates, which is reflected in the Census Bureau’s homeownership data from the first quarter of 2022.