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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 97-123
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-1420Tuesday
Or contact your local HUD officeJuly 22, 1997

NOTE: Homeownership rate for states and metro areas attached


BOSTON -- Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced the U.S. homeownership rate rose to 65.7 percent in the second quarter of 1997 -- the highest quarterly rate in nearly 17 years.

Cuomo said 67.1 million American households now own their homes -- the highest number in U.S. history and an increase of 5.3 million since President Clinton took office in 1993.

Cuomo, in Boston for a White House Conference on Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities, said the homeownership rate rose by 0.3 percentage point in the second quarter of this year - - creating 597,000 additional homeowners during the period, according to new statistics compiled by the Census Bureau.

"By increasing employment and household income and by holding down interest rates, President Clinton's economic policies have served as a powerful engine to drive up the homeownership rate," Cuomo said. "Millions of American families have been given the opportunity to improve their lives by becoming homeowners."

Cuomo said the National Partners in Homeownership -- a coalition of 63 national groups representing the housing industry, lenders, non-profit groups and all sectors of government -- has also played a key role in increasing the homeownership rate. The Department of Housing and Urban Development created the Partnership at President Clinton's direction in 1995, as part of the President's National Homeownership Strategy. HUD also helped create 123 local partnerships modeled after the National Partnership in communities around the country.

The new increase in the homeownership rate puts the nation on track to reaching President Clinton's goal of an all-time high homeownership rate of 67.5 percent by the end of the year 2000, Cuomo said. The increase would be achieved by boosting the number of homeowners by 8 million from the beginning of 1995. The number of homeowners has increased by 3.1 million since 1995.

The new quarterly homeownership rate of 65.7 percent nearly equals the previous record of 65.8 percent set in the third quarter of 1980. The new rate is the second-highest quarterly rate since quarterly statistics were first tabulated in 1965.

"We are making a special effort to reduce the gap in homeownership between whites and minorities, between households headed by women and other households, and between our suburbs and our cities," Cuomo said. "For far too many hard-working American families, homeownership remains an unfulfilled dream."

The homeownership rate for minorities edged up by 0.4 percentage point during the quarter to 45.7 percent. Female- headed households increased their homeownership rate by 0.8 percentage point to 51.3 percent. Married couples under age 35 increased their homeownership rate by 0.5 percentage point to 58.6 percent.

Among whites, the homeownership rate rose 0.5 percentage point to 72.1 percent.

The central city homeownership rate rose slightly by 0.1 percentage point to 49.9 percent. The suburban homeownership rate rose by 0.5 percentage point to 72.6 percent.

Here's how the homeownership rate changed by region during the second quarter of this year: Northeast, up 0.8 percentage point to 62.4 percent; South, up 0.3 percentage point to 68.1 percent; West, up 0.9 percentage point to 59.9 percent; Midwest, down by 0.3 percentage point to 70.3 percent.

  • In June, President Clinton and Secretary Cuomo announced a series of initiatives to boost homeownership across the nation. These included:

  • Two cuts in the Federal Housing Administration home mortgage insurance premium -- the third and fourth approved by President Clinton. One reduction, applying to all first-time homebuyers with FHA-insured mortgages, will save homebuyers $200 in closing costs on the average FHA mortgage of $85,000. The second will save first-time homebuyers in central cities an additional $200 -- on top of the $200 savings for other homebuyers. In all, cuts approved by President Clinton have cut average FHA closing costs for first-time homebuyers by $1,200 around the country and by $1,400 in central cities.

  • A program to enable as many as 2,000 police officers to buy HUD-owned inner city homes at half price. The pilot program, called the Officer Next Door initiative, is designed to reduce crime and make low-income neighborhoods more attractive to homeowners.

  • Allowing working families who receive rental vouchers from HUD under the Section 8 program to convert the rental vouchers into new Empowerment Vouchers that will enable them to buy homes, under legislation expected to become law. Freddie Mac has announced a commitment to purchase up to 2,000 of the mortgages originated by private lenders.

  • Cracking down on illegal housing discrimination, doubling the number of housing discrimination cases HUD refers to the Justice Department for prosecution in the next four years. This will further the President's initiative on race.

  • An additional $10 million investment to create new Homeownership Zones designed to revitalize blighted inner cities by transforming them into thriving neighborhoods of new homes.

  • Proposed legislation to allow communities to use HUD Section 108 Economic Development Loan Guarantees to promote homeownership.


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