The U.S. homeownership rate rose to 68.4% in the third quarter, topping the previous record of 68.3% set in the fourth quarter of 2002, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.Since the fourth quarter, the homeownership rate had dropped to 68.0% in the first and second quarters of this year. The homeownership rate for minorities also dipped during the first half of the year. But homeownership for blacks jumped from 47.3% in the second quarter to 48.0% in the third quarter, while the homeownership rate for Hispanics was basically unchanged at 46.1%. Housing Secretary Mel Martinez said the Bush administration's initiative to increase homeownership for 5.5 million minority families by the end of the decade is working. "These figures show that since the second quarter of 2002, we have an additional 1.03 million minority homeowners to count toward that goal."

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