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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-302
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Tuesday
Or contact your local HUD officeJuly 21, 1998


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that the U.S. homeownership rate rose to 66 percent in the second quarter of this year - tying the all-time record rate set in the 3rd quarter of 1997. The number of families owning their own homes rose to 68.3 million - the highest number in American history.

The nation's overall homeownership rate - measuring the percentage of families who own the homes they live in - was up slightly from 65.9 percent in the first quarter of this year. The number of families owning homes rose from 68 million in the first quarter.

Also today, the Census Bureau reported that housing starts rose sharply in June. Builders started construction at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1,615,000 new housing units - up 5.6 percent from May and up 7.5 percent over new starts in June of last year. Home building has been above a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.5 million units for 10 consecutive months - the longest building boom since 1987. In the first six months of this year, housing production has proceeded at a rate of almost 100,000 units higher than all of 1997.

"I believe that in 1998 America will reach the highest annual homeownership rate in our nation's history because of the strong economy created by President Clinton's policies and because of HUD's homeownership initiatives," Cuomo said. "The booming economy is unlocking the door to homeownership for growing numbers of American families."

Cuomo made his prediction of a new record-high 1998 homeownership rate because the nation's overall homeownership rate in the each of the first two quarters of this year exceeded the record-high annual homeownership rate of 65.7 percent set in 1997. In addition, he said the jump in housing starts also points to growth in homeownership.

Despite the overall growth in homeownership, the homeownership gap between whites and minorities and cities and suburbs grew slightly in the quarter, which covers April, May and June. The white homeownership was 72.5 percent in the second quarter - compared with 45.3 percent for African Americans and 43.9 percent for Hispanics. The suburban homeownership rate of 73 percent dwarfed the urban homeownership rate of 49.5 percent.

"We can't tolerate a homeownership gap as wide as the Grand Canyon," Cuomo said. "We must reduce the growing homeownership gap that's dividing whites from minorities and suburbanites from city residents if we are to bring equal opportunity to all our people."

Cuomo said initiatives to boost homeownership in President Clinton's 1999 budget request for HUD would have an especially strong impact on minorities and city residents. These initiatives include: higher Federal Housing Administration loan limits to enable more families to qualify for FHA-insured mortgages that will make it possible for them to become homeowners; increased funding to intensify HUD's crackdown on housing discrimination; more HOME Program grants and a HOME Bank to make thousands of affordable housing units available; the creation of new Homeownership Zones to revitalize inner city neighborhoods; and more funds for homeownership counseling.

New statistics issued today by the Census Bureau and HUD show that:

  • WHITES: In the second quarter of this year, 72.5 percent of whites were homeowners - up from 72.1 percent in the first quarter.

  • AFRICAN AMERICANS: In the second quarter only 45.3 percent of African American households were homeowners - down slightly from 46 percent in the quarter before.

  • HISPANICS: Only 43.9 percent of Hispanic households owned their homes in the second quarter - down from 44.4 percent in the first quarter.

  • SUBURBS: Suburban homeownership was 73 percent in the second quarter - up from 72.8 percent in the first quarter of 1998.

  • CENTRAL CITIES: Homeownership in cities that are at the center of metropolitan areas was 49.5 percent in the second quarter - down from 49.9 percent in the first quarter.

  • FEMALE-HEADED HOUSEHOLDS: The homeownership rate among female-headed households was 51 percent in the second quarter - down slightly from 51.2 percent in the first quarter.

On a regional basis, the homeownership rate rose slightly in every region but the Midwest, where it fell slightly.

MIDWEST: 70.3 percent in the second quarter - down from 70.6 percent in the first quarter.

SOUTH: 68.4 percent in the second quarter - up from 68.2 percent in the first quarter.

WEST: 60.3 percent in the second quarter - up from 60.1 percent in the first quarter.

NORTHEAST: 62.7 percent in the second quarter - up from 62.4 percent in the first quarter.

Cuomo said an important factor contributing to the overall 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 as part of President Clinton's National Homeownership Strategy, the overall annual homeownership rate has increased from 64 percent in 1994. This translates into an increase of about 4.4 million more families owning homes since the end of 1994.

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 in locating homes.

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