While the nation’s homeownership rate dropped during the most recent recession, it has remained relatively high by historical standards. But according to Fannie Mae research reported by the Wall Street Journal, that drop would be a lot more precipitous if it weren’t for America’s aging population.
Though the overall homeownership rate fell 1.1 percentage points to 65.1 percent between 2000 and 2010, it would have been 2.8 points had older citizens not begun to dominate the population. In the last 30 years homeownership rates for households over 65 have increased 7.4 percent, while rates for 25 to 34 year olds and 35 to 44 year olds have plummeted 9.6 and 9 percentage points, respectively. Today, just 42 percent of Americans aged 24 to 34 own their homes. Meanwhile, a recent survey suggested members of the baby boomer population are seriously looking to own second homes.
Due to general trends of delayed marriages and more school years, the shift away from ownership for younger people could be permanent, even when the economy recovers, Fannie Mae said. And Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae, speculated that the current recession would scare young people away from ever owning a home.