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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-220
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Thursday
Or contact your local HUD officeOctober 28, 1999


WASHINGTON - America's homeownership rate rose to a record high in the third quarter of 1999, with 67 percent of all families owning their homes, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said today.

A total of 70.5 million American families owned homes in the third quarter - more than at any time in American history. There were 58 million white, 6.1 million African American, 4.2 million Hispanic, and 2.2 million Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander homeowners - all record high numbers. In all, 8.7 million more families owned homes in the third quarter of this year than when President Clinton took office in 1993, when the homeownership rate stood at 64 percent.

"Our strong economy is unlocking the door to homeownership for millions of families," Cuomo said. "Clinton-Gore Administration economic policies are making the American Dream of homeownership a reality."

Here are figures showing how the homeownership rate changed from the second quarter of 1999 to the third quarter of 1999, measuring the percentage of all households owning their homes and listing breakdowns by racial and ethnic groups, as well as location. The category of OTHER includes Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders. Rates that set new quarterly records are in bold and marked with an asterisk:

Second Quarter 1999 Third Quarter 1999
NATION OVERALL 66.6% 67.0%*
WHITE (non-Hispanic) 73.2% 73.5%*
BLACK (non-Hispanic) 45.8% 47.0%*
HISPANIC 44.9% 45.5%
OTHER (non-Hispanic) 53.6% 54.8%*
CENTRAL CITIES 50.1% 50.5% (ties record)
SUBURBS 73.7% 73.7%
NORTHEAST 62.8% 63.6%*
MIDWEST 71.2% 72.1%*
SOUTH 68.9% 69.3%*
WEST 61.3% 60.8%

Studies have shown that homeowners accumulate wealth as the investment in their homes grows, enjoy better living conditions, are often more involved in their communities, and have children who tend on average to do better in school and are less likely to become involved with crime. Communities benefit from real estate taxes homeowners pay, and from stable neighborhoods homeowners create.

The homeownership rate - the percentage of families owning their homes - rose four-tenths of a percentage point in the third quarter of 1999, up from 66.6 percent in the second quarter of this year.

The new 67 percent homeownership rate tops the previous all-time quarterly record of 66.8 percent set in the third quarter of 1998. The third quarter covers July, August and September.

Record quarterly homeownership rates were set in the third quarter of this year for whites (73.5 percent), African Americans (47 percent), and for the Northeast (63.6 percent), Midwest (72.1 percent) and South (69.3 percent). The homeownership rate for central cities - the major communities in a metropolitan area - tied the record of 50.5 percent set in the third quarter of 1998.

The homeownership rate among minorities and in cities grew at a faster rate than among whites and in suburbs during the third quarter of this year, although still lagging far behind.

Because of the continued strong growth rate among minority homeowners, a total of 41 percent of the net new homeowners since 1994 are minorities - even though minorities account for just 23 percent of the population.

"We're closing the homeownership gap dividing whites from minorities and city residents from suburbanites, but the gap remains far too wide," Cuomo said. "We're working hard to do more."

HUD's crackdown on housing discrimination, which was ordered by the President, is opening up new homeownership opportunities to minorities. HUD more than tripled its enforcement actions involving housing discrimination to a rate averaging 110 enforcement actions per month in the 1999 Fiscal Year, compared with an average of less than 30 per month during the Clinton Administration's first term. HUD is also conducting a major study of housing discrimination around the country as part of its continuing efforts to eliminate discrimination that stands as a barrier to minority homeownership.

HUD is also working to make more mortgage funds available to minorities, low- and moderate-income families, and city residents.

In July, Cuomo announced a policy to require the nation's two largest housing finance companies to buy $2.4 trillion in mortgages over the next 10 years to provide affordable housing for about 28.1 million low- and moderate-income families. The historic action by HUD raised the required percentage of mortgage loans for low- and moderate-income families that finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must buy from the current 42 percent of their total purchases to a new high of 50 percent in 2001. The percentage will first increase to 48 percent in 2000.

In addition, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is part of HUD, insured nearly 1.3 million home mortgages in the 1999 Fiscal Year - many of them going to minorities and central city residents. FHA has insured more than 6.8 million home mortgages since 1993. Without FHA insurance, many families would be unable to get mortgages to become homeowners. On Jan. 1, FHA began insuring home mortgage loans of up to $115,200 in communities where housing costs are relatively low and up to $208,800 in communities where housing costs are high. This was the second increase in the loan limits since October 1998 - and will open up homeownership to more families in the years ahead.

The National Partners in Homeownership - a coalition of 66 national groups representing the housing industry, lenders, non-profit groups and all levels of government - has also helped boost homeownership. The Partners group was created in 1995 as part of President Clinton's National Homeownership Strategy. The Partners have successfully implemented initiatives to make buying a home more affordable, faster and easier. Activities to increase homeownership are also being carried out by 157 local homeownership partnerships established to support the national strategy. Among the activities developed by the partners are homeownership counseling sessions, homebuying fairs, and help with locating homes.

On top of these initiatives, the Community Reinvestment Act - a federal law that requires lenders to make loans to all segments of the communities they serve - has resulted in more loans to people in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods since it was enacted in 1977. A significant portion of these funds has been used for mortgage lending that has boosted homeownership. Community groups estimate that lenders have pledged more than $1 trillion in CRA loans since 1977.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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