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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-15
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-1420Wednesday
Or contact your local HUD officeJanuary 21, 1998


WASHINGTON – Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that the 1997 U.S. homeownership rate was 65.7 percent -- the highest annual rate in American history. The previous all-time annual high was 65.6 percent, set in 1980.

The new Census Bureau figures mean that 67.1 million American families now own their homes – including 5.5 million African Americans, 3.7 million Hispanic Americans, and 15.2 million households headed by women.

"President Clinton’s strategy to make the dream of homeownership a reality for more American families is working and is benefiting millions of people," Cuomo said. "As a result of the strong economy created by the President’s policies, there were over five million more American families who owned homes in 1997 than when the President took office."

Here’s how the annual homeownership rate has risen since 1994.

WHITES: 70 percent in 1994 to 72 percent in 1997.

AFRICAN AMERICANS: 42.5 percent in 1994 to 45.4 percent in 1997.

HISPANICS: 41.2 percent in 1994 to 43.3 percent in 1997.

FEMALE-HEADED HOUSEHOLDS: 48.7 percent in 1994 to 51 percent in 1997.

SUBURBS: 70.3 percent in 1994 to 72.5 percent in 1997.

CENTRAL CITIES: 48.5 percent in 1994 to 49.9 percent in 1997.

"Despite all the progress we’ve made, the homeownership gap between whites and minorities, between households headed by women and other households, and between suburbs and cities, remains far too large," Cuomo said. "The door to homeownership must be open to more Americans. At the President’s direction, we have launched new efforts to eliminate housing discrimination, to help more minorities and women become homeowners, and to increase homeownership in central cities."

The 1997 annual homeownership rate increased in all four regions of the country. The Northeast increased from 61.5 percent in 1994 to 62.4 percent in 1997; the Midwest increased from 67.7 to 70.5 percent; the South increased from 65.6 to 68.0 percent; and the West increased from 59.4 to 59.6 percent.

The homeownership rate for the fourth quarter of 1997 was 65.7 percent, the highest fourth quarter rate ever. Before this, the all-time fourth quarter high was 65.5 percent, reached in the fourth quarter of 1980.

Cuomo said an important factor contributing to the growth in homeownership has been the National Partners in Homeownership, a coalition of 65 national groups representing the housing industry, lenders, non-profit groups and all sectors of government working to make buying a home more affordable, faster and easier.

Since the partnership was created in 1995 as part of the President’s National Homeownership Strategy, the overall annual homeownership rate has increased from 64 percent for 1994 to 65.7 percent in 1997, a gain of 1.7 percentage points.

Activities to increase homeownership are also being carried out by 132 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.

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