The national home ownership rate fell last quarter to the lowest level in two decades, the U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday. Despite the housing recovery of the last few years, the ownership rate has been on a steady decline since the housing boom last decade. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the rate fell to a seasonally adjusted level of 63.9%, from 64.3% in the previous quarter. Last quarter’s rate was the lowest since the third quarter of 1994.
Families are struggling to purchase a home because prices have surged far faster than incomes in recent years. Lending standards are also far tighter than in the second quarter of 2004, when easy money policies helped the home ownership rate peak at 69.4%.