The U.S. homeownership rate ended 2003 at a record rate of 68.6%, according to the government, and homeownership among blacks rose to nearly 50%.The Census Bureau reported that homeownership rates rose from 68.4% in the third quarter to 68.6% in the fourth quarter. The percentage of homeowners in the United States at the end of the fourth quarter of 2002 was 68.3%. The latest numbers show that homeownership among blacks rose from 47.7% in the fourth quarter of 2002 to 49.4% in the fourth quarter of 2003. But Hispanic homeownership ended the year at 47.7%, down from 48.3% a year earlier. "These homeownership numbers, coupled with a record number of new and existing homes sold last year, show that housing continues to lead the way in our rebounding economy," acting Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson said.

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