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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-69
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Wednesday
Or contact your local HUD officeApril 21, 1999


WASHINGTON - America's homeownership rate rose to 66.7 percent for the first quarter of 1999, including a record number of African American and Hispanic families, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said today.

New statistics released today by the Census Bureau showed that the homeownership rate - the percentage of families owning their homes - rose three-tenths of a percentage point in the first quarter of this year, up from 66.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 1998.

A total of 69.6 million American families owned their own homes in the first quarter of this year - more than at any time in American history. This was 7.8 million more families than when President Clinton took office in 1993, when the homeownership rate stood at 64 percent.

"The mighty engine of our nation's booming economy is creating more homeowners than ever before, and bringing new opportunity to growing numbers of Americans," Cuomo said. "The low interest rates, low unemployment and business prosperity created by President Clinton's policies are unlocking the door to homeownership for millions of families."

The new 66.7 percent homeownership rate is the highest first-quarter rate ever recorded and just below the all-time quarterly high rate of 66.8 percent set in the third quarter of 1998. The new quarterly rate is also higher than the annual homeownership rate for 1998, which was 66.3 percent.

The number of homeowners included a record 5.9 million African American and 4.2 million Hispanic families - the highest number of minority homeowners in American history. The homeownership rates for minorities - 46.9 percent for blacks and 46.2 percent for Hispanics - are the highest since these rates were separately reported in 1983, and are believed to be the highest ever.

A total of 39 percent of the net new homeowners since 1994 are minorities - even though minorities account for just 24 percent of the population.

While the African American and Hispanic homeownership rates continued growing twice as fast as the white homeownership rate, they still lagged too far behind, Cuomo said.

"We're working to shrink the vast homeownership gap dividing minorities from whites and dividing cities from their surrounding communities," Cuomo said.

Here are figures showing how the homeownership rate changed from the fourth quarter of 1998 to the first quarter of 1999, measuring the percentage of all households owning their own homes and then listing breakdowns by major racial and ethnic groups, as well as location:

4th qt. 1998 1st qt. 1999
NATION OVERALL 66.4% 66.7%
WHITE (non-Hispanic) 72.6% 72.8%
BLACK (non-Hispanic) 46.5% 46.9%
HISPANIC 45.7% 46.2%
CENTRAL CITIES 50.3% 50.3%
SUBURBS 73.3% 73.5%
NORTHEAST 62.0% 62.7%
MIDWEST 71.5% 71.2%
SOUTH 69.0% 69.2%
WEST 60.4% 61%

The National Partners in Homeownership - a coalition of 66 national groups representing the housing industry, lenders, non-profit groups and all sectors of government - has launched initiatives to close the homeownership gap and to increase overall homeownership as well.

The group was created in 1995 as part of President Clinton's National Homeownership Strategy. It has helped make buying a home more affordable, faster and easier. Activities to increase homeownership are also being carried out by 153 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.

Homeownership has many benefits. Homeowners generally enjoy better living conditions than renters; accumulate wealth as their investment in their homes grows; strengthen the economy by purchases of homes, furniture and appliances; and tend to be more involved in promoting strong neighborhoods and good schools than renters.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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