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David Egner (202) 708-0685 ext. 147Monday
Bill Connelly (202) 708-0685 ext. 115July 22, 1996



WASHINGTON -- The nation's homeownership rate climbed a record 1.6 points over the past two years to reach a 15-year high of 65.4 percent, the Clinton Administration announced today. As a result, the number American homeowners rose to 66.1 million -- the highest level in United States history.

In the second quarter of 1996, the homeownership rate rose three-tenths of a point -- creating 700,000 new homeowners in just the three-month period, Housing Secretary Henry G. Cisneros and President Clinton's National Economic Advisor Laura D'Andrea Tyson said.

From the second quarter of 1994 through the second quarter of 1996, America's homeownership rate grew at the fastest pace since quarterly statistics were first compiled in 1965, Cisneros and Tyson said. The 1.6 point growth rate works out to a 2.5 percent increase in homeownership.

In the two-year period, the number of American homeowners has risen by 3.3 million individuals and families. Since January 1993, the number of homeowners has grown by 4.4 million.

"This growing homeownership rate is a powerful engine of economic growth, creating jobs in the construction industry and in businesses that sell building supplies, appliances and home furnishings," Cisneros said. "Growing homeownership helps more families better their lives, create new opportunities for their children and build equity."

"Today's numbers show that homeownership is yet another way that President Clinton's economic plan has helped touch the lives of working families," Tyson said. "The President's strong deficit reduction has helped keep mortgage rates relatively low, even as the economy has strengthened and job growth has boomed. Lower deficits, lower mortgage rates and higher job growth is a good recipe for higher homeownership rates."

"Over the past 24 months, homeownership rates are up in virtually every region of the country," Cisneros said. "They are up among all racial categories, for all age groups, and for families in all income groups."

The new Commerce Department statistics for the second quarter of this year put the nation's homeownership at just four- tenths of a point below the all-time high homeownership rate of 65.8 percent, reached in 1980.

Quarterly Statistics
The statistics also showed these increases in the homeownership rate during the second quarter of this year:

  • The rate for Hispanics jumped 2.5 points to an all-time high of 43.9 percent.
  • The rate for householders from 35 to 44 years old went up by nine-tenths of a point to 65.5 percent.
  • The rate for Americans under 35 went up by five-tenths of a point to 39.3 percent.
  • 1995 All-Time High Statistics
    In 1995, all-time high homeownership annual rates were reached for: Married couples -- 79.6 percent; Elderly -- 78.1 percent; Hispanics -- 42.4 percent; Northeast -- 62.8 percent; and West -- 59.6 percent.

    Two-year Statistics
    Over the past two years:

  • The homeownership rate in the Midwest increased by 3 percentage points to 70.5 percent.
  • In the South the rate went up 2 points to 67.2 percent.
  • In the Northeast, the rate is up a full percentage point to 62.3 percent.
  • In the West, the rate was virtually unchanged at 59.8 percent.
  • The homeownership rate for householders under age 35 rose by 2.5 points to 39.3 percent.
  • For householders between 35 and 44, the rate was up nine-tenths of a point to 65.5 percent.
  • For householders between 45 and 54, the rate was virtually unchanged at 75.5 percent.
  • For householders between 55 and 64, the rate increased by nine-tenths of a point to 80 percent.
  • For householders 65 years and older, the rate increased by 1.7 points to 78.9 percent.
  • The homeownership rate for African Americans increased 2 points to 44 percent.
  • For Hispanics, the rate increased by 2.8 points to the all-time high of 43.9 percent.
  • For whites, the rate was up 1.8 points to 71.7 percent.
  • And for all other Americans, the rate climbed 1.9 points to 50.4 percent.
  • The homeownership rate for families with income greater to or equal to median family income went up by 1.9 points to 80.3 percent.
  • The rate for families with less than median income went up 1.2 points to 49.2 percent.
  • Cisneros said the increase in homeownership is evidence of the success of the National Homeownership Strategy, launched at President Clinton's direction. The strategy is designed to raise the national homeownership rate to an all-time high of 67.5 percent by the year 2000.

    The 58-member National Partners in Homeownership -- a coalition of homebuilders, real estate professionals, mortgage bankers, and low-income housing advocates -- is working to help the strategy succeed and make more than two-thirds of all American families homeowners.

    The Partners and HUD have launched major initiatives to make buying a home more affordable, faster and easier.

    Secondary markets are introducing new technology and simplification in loan underwriting. They are creating better- targeted loan products to lower down payments and closing costs. The homebuilding sector is working to lower the cost of housing itself.

    In addition, HUD has reduced closing costs on FHA loans by $1,000 and cut the time needed to process FHA insurance applications from two months to two days.

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