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In a Tough Buyer’s Market, Ownership is Still Rising

The first three months of 2018 marked the seventh straight quarter in which homeownership has not lost ground—and it's young buyers and Hispanic buyers who are largely responsible for that, according to Zillow.

While for seven quarters now, homeownership has either increased or remained flat, the past three quarters have shown a steady rise in homeownership rates—64.2 in Q1—nationally, Zillow reported this week. At the same time, the number of renter households is slightly down since the end of the year.

While homeownership rate is up 0.2 percent since Q4, it has risen 0.6 percent from a year ago. There are currently 1.35 million (1.8 percent) more homeowner households and 286,000 (0.7 percent) fewer renter households compared to Q1 2017, Zillow reported.

The Q1 rate is the highest since Q3 2014, Zillow reported, and the current seven-quarter streak is the longest since the 15-month streak that ended in 2002.

The more notable factor in the bump, however, is that over the past year, the homeownership rate has increased most among young adults and Hispanics. According to the report, the homeownership rate is up 1 percentage point (to 35.3) for those under 35 over the past year. That compares to a 0.8 percent increase for those aged 35 to 44, a 0.6 percent uptick for those 45 to 54, a 0.2 percent increase for those 55 to 64, and a 0.1 percent increase for those 65 and older.

Those numbers, however, largely reflect the influence of white buyers, according to Zillow. Homeownership rates in Q1 fell for all non-white groups except Hispanics, who saw a 0.8 percent rise in the quarter. Much of the reason for higher Hispanic household numbers lies in their youth.

“On average, Hispanics tend to be younger than other racial and ethnic groups, so some of the rising homeownership rates among Hispanics is tied to the rising homeownership rate among young adults nationwide,” the report stated.

As for geography over the past year, the homeownership rate has increased most in Columbus, Ohio. There, Zillow reported, rates went up 9 percent, to 64.1 overall. Nearby Pittsburgh saw a 5 percent uptick in homeownership, to 75.4 percent.

Homeownership rates dropped most on opposite ends of the country. Rates in San Diego were down 5.3 percentage points, to 52.6 percent since last year. Meanwhile, rates in Baltimore dropped 5.2 percent, to 65.2. Denver's rates also sunk, by 3.8 percent, to 53).

About Author: Scott Morgan

Scott Morgan is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor based out of Texas. During his 11 years as a newspaper journalist, he wrote more than 4,000 published pieces. He's been recognized for his work since 2001, and his creative writing continues to win acclaim from readers and fellow writers alike. He is also a creative writing teacher and the author of several books, from short fiction to written works about writing.
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