Data continue to mount showing that the housing sector remains depressed. First came news from the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index that home prices fell 1.6 percent in the year through November.
Now, the Census Department reports that vacant home totaled 18.4 million in the fourth quarter, meaning 11 percent of all housing units are vacant year-round, according to CNBC.
The country’s home ownership rate, after holding steady for months, dropped to 66.5 percent in the fourth quarter from 66.9 percent in the third quarter. That's the lowest level since 1998.
“Homeownership is falling at an alarming pace, despite the fact that home prices have fallen, affordability is much improved, and inventories of new and existing homes are still running quite high,” writes CNBC real estate columnist Diana Olick.
Much of the problem is that the nation is still recovering emotionally from the housing crash of the past four years, she says.
“Younger Americans have seen what home ownership has done to their friends and families, and many want no part of it. Credit has become very nearly elitist.”
Ace economist Nouriel Roubini says housing is in the midst of a double-dip recession. “Demand is falling, and supply is increasing because there is a shadow inventory of millions of not yet foreclosed homes. Therefore, prices are going to fall even further,” he tells Forbes video.
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