This is actually good news:
In the fourth quarter of 2010, 66.5% of Americans owned homes, down from 67.2% a year earlier and the lowest rate since the end of 1998, according the Census Bureau. During the boom, when easy credit made mortgages available with less regard for income or ability to pay, the ownership rate surged to a record 69.2% in 2004′s second and fourth quarters and stayed near that level until the recession deepened.
The housing bubble came about, recall, because lenders made loans to people who, on account of their poor creditworthiness, never should have gotten them in the first place. As those proto-deadbeat first-time buyers became homeowners, the nation’s homeownership rate rose to never-before-seen levels. Then all hell broke loose as the defaults piled up. With the homeownership rate now at its lowest level in 13 years, those disastrous incremental buyers have presumably been purged from the system. As I say, good. . . . .