The 1st quarter homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34 was 48.3 percent, well below the 50 percent threshold and 2 percentage points lower than a year earlier. This matters because the homeownership rate of the 30-to-34 age group is the bellwether for the housing industry. Typically, the majority of householders become homeowners in their early thirties. That may no longer be the case as young adults either can't afford or do not want to buy a home until housing prices bottom out and job security improves. In 2011, the annual homeownership rate of the age group fell below 50 percent (to 48.9 percent) for the first time in the data series, which dates back to 1982.
Another ominous sign: the steepest decline in homeownership has shifted upwards from the 30-to-34 age group to the 35-to-39 age group. This shift is occurring as younger adults who have hesitated to buy homes enter the next older age group. The homeownership rate of householders aged 35 to 39 fell by 4.4 percentage points between the first quarter of 2011 (60.8 percent) and the first quarter of 2012 (56.4 percent).
See previous First-Time Homebuyer posts here, here, here, and here
Source: Bureau of the Census, Housing Vacancy Survey