Black and Hispanic homeownership drops as overall rate rises

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Homeownership levels reached their highest point since the third quarter of 2014, but some races saw their rates fall, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

While homeownership grew to 64.3% from 63.7% a year ago, there was a 31.3 percentage point disparity between white and black homeowners and a 26.3 percentage point difference between whites and Hispanics, the latest residential vacancies and homeownership report from the Census Bureau shows.

Hispanic homeownership had the largest quarter-over-quarter decline among ethnic groups, falling 1.8%, followed by black households dropping 0.6%. Black homeownership also experienced the only year-over-year drop, going to 41.6% in the second quarter from 42.3% in 2Q 2017.

White households stand at 72.9%, and all others, a category which includes Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, went up to 55.7%. The level of overall homeownership reached its highest point in nearly four years at 64.3%.

The age bracket of 45-to-54 year-olds drove the growth in homeownership, raising their level 1.3 percentage points since this time last year. Millennials trailed closely, going up 1.2 percentage points from a year ago, while also hitting their highest plateau since 4Q 2013.

"Millennials are going to push the demand curve forward," Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said in an interview.

Older generations are hesitant to sell and tend to age in place, so although millennials have faced homeownership challenges, they are likely to be the drivers of the market going forward, he said.

Geographically, the Northeast had the biggest year-over-year rise, going to 60.4% to 61.3% and the Midwest has the highest rate of any region with 68.3%.

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