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DROP IN HOME OWNERSHIP WORST SINCE GREAT DEPRESSION

Home Prices Drop To Lowest Level Since 2006
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Looking for those “For Rent” signs? Or maybe mom and dad’s basement?  Heaven forbid its the van by the river but more and more of us no longer have our own personal castle…according to the census bureau home ownership is not just down, it’s low down dirty down!

Census Bureau figures released Thursday (October 6th) show the worst drop in home ownership in the U.S. since the Great Depression. The home ownership rate fell to 65.1 percent in 2010 from 66.2 percent 10 years earlier, a 1.1 percentage point drop that’s the largest since 1940, when it plunged 4.2 percent during the Great Depression. Since 1940, there’s been a steady increase in home ownership in each 10-year Census, with the exception of 1980 to 1990, when it remained even. Analysts say the U.S. may never return to the mid-2000s housing boom peak, when there was a nearly 70 percent home ownership rate, because of tighter credit, high unemployment, and reduced government programs to help people own their own homes.

The new Census figures also show that the home ownership rate between whites and blacks is now at its widest since 1960, wiping out more than four decades of gains. • Meanwhile, for those who can afford to buy a home, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has fallen below 4 percent — to 3.94 percent — for the first time in history. Mortgage rates are now lower than they were in the early 1950s, but it hasn’t been enough to lift the struggling housing market because of factors including high unemployment, banks now requiring higher credit scores, and many banks wanting first-time buyers to put down 20 percent.

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