Homeownership reaches 2014 levels after years of decline

    The U.S. homeownership rate climbed in the fourth quarter to its highest level in nearly five years, The Wall Street Journal reports, evidence that momentum is shifting back from renting to owning.

    The percentage of American households that own their homes rose to 64.8% in the fourth quarter, the highest since 2014 and up from 64.2% a year earlier, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Thursday.

    Despite scant housing inventory and low affordability, “buyers are really expressing their desire for the American dream, albeit surely but slowly,” says Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic Inc., a real-estate data firm.

    The number of owner households experienced the largest surge last year since 2004, says to Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting at the Mortgage Bankers Association.

    A shift in the U.S. toward rentals at the expense of homeownership had been going on for years after the housing bust, both for lifestyle and affordability reasons. Read the full story.

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