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Biggest drop in homeownership since the Great Depression – what now?

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Abandoned house in Louisiana, photo by Bart Everson.

Massive vacancies

The U.S. Census Bureau is also reporting that over one in ten housing units is vacant, up 43.8 percent between 2000 and 2010, an astonishing increase. With 11.4 percent of all housing units now sitting vacant, there are 15 million empty homes and with the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reporting a stagnant 9.1 percent unemployment rate, the number of people moving back in with parents, friends or shelters is on the rise. The contradiction between the homeless and struggling juxtaposed with vacant homes is the inspiration for many to push banks to reform and work to refinance homeowners, especially in light of mortgage rates dropping to below 4.0 for the first time.

We reported last month that the American dream of homeownership is not dead but it has definitely changed. According to a Trulia study, people still want to own homes, but they don’t want a mansion, they want urban living and walkability, and more importantly they’re scared. Finances are named as the top obstacle for buyers and that although people over 55 still plan on buying a second home, there is a large number of Americans under 34 who do not yet live alone.

Homeownership is dropping and the dream is changing, and the bottom of the market remains uncertain, even in light of some analysts saying we’ve already hit the bottom.

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Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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