October 30, 2018

Enterprise Releases Q3 2018 Update to our Interactive Owning and Renting Report

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Enterprise has updated its interactive report on trends in housing tenure, using data released today as part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s third quarter 2018 Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS).

The new figures show the share of households owning their home increased last quarter to 64.4%, compared to 64.3% in the second quarter and 63.9% in Q3 2017. The estimated number of homeowning households also increased to 78.1 million, while the number of renters declined marginally to 43.3 million, or 35.6% of all households.

The interactive graphics in the report also breakdown tenure trends by age, race/ethnicity, and income, comparing both relative and absolute rate changes over time. These annual data continue to reveal stark disparities in the share of homeowners among these subsets of households, as well as changes in rates that are narrowing some tenure gaps and expanding others.

Since 2016, Hispanic and Asian households have experienced the largest increases in their homeownership rates among subgroups by race and ethnicity, up by 1.2 and 2.9 percentage points to 47.1% and 55.7%, respectively. Ownership among non-Hispanic Whites, though growing at a slower pace, has also increased to 72.8%. Tenure rates for Non-Hispanic Blacks, however, have been nearly flat over the last two years, which widened their tenure gap with non-Hispanic White households to 31 percentage points – a record for this 25-year series.

Younger households (under age 35) also increased their homeownership rate faster than the national trend, although nearly two-thirds of this group (63.8%) remain renters. Homeownership grew among middle-aged households (35-64 years old) as well, though at a slower rate relative to younger householders. Seniors (ages 65+), continued to see their rentership rate decrease slightly, though at 78.4% their homeownership rates remain the highest among all age groups.

Households with incomes above the national median also have a homeownership rate above 78%, despite only marginal growth since the end of the housing boom. Below median-income households, meanwhile, are back over 50% homeownership for the first time since 2013, as their tenure gap with higher-income households continues to narrow.

These trends in tenure rates over time highlight disparities in the housing options available to different groups of households. Even after accounting for differences in age, income, education, and marital status, wide gaps remain between homeownership rates of white and minority households. This suggests that efforts to remove barriers to homeownership for households traditionally underserved by the homebuying and home mortgage market have not succeeded.

These data also reinforce that there is a continuing need for rental housing. Yet construction of rental units is barely keeping pace with demolitions, leading to tight inventories, especially in high-growth areas. This imbalance drives both higher rental costs and longer commuting times, as households move farther from employment centers in search of more affordable housing.

Uneven access to homeownership also reduces economic mobility and contributes to racial wealth gaps. These inequities can compound over generations, with homeowners accumulating wealth that is often passed down to their descendants.

Addressing these issues will require action at the state, local and federal level. Municipal and regional zoning reforms can reduce barriers to building more affordable rental housing, while national-level initiatives to increase access to homeownership will help more households achieve this dream.

Enterprise Community Partners remains committed to increasing opportunity in low-income communities through a range of well-designed affordable housing options, including both homeowner and renter options.

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