WASHINGTON -- The national homeownership rate dipped to 63.9 percent last year, but a Census Bureau report released today says the number of homeowners in the Baltimore area increased more rapidly since 1986 than in all but four of the nation's 61 largest metropolitan areas.
Homeownership in Maryland as a whole slipped from 67.8 percent to 65.5 percent between 1986 and 1989, the bureau said.
The Census Bureau said the decline in homeownership nationally during the 1980s was the first decade-long decline since the 1930s.
But in the Baltimore standard metropolitan statistical area, the percentage of homeowners increased from 58.8 percent in 1986 to 62.9 percent in 1989. The only bigger increases during the late 1980s were in San Jose, Calif.; the Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News area in Virginia; Milwaukee, Wis., and the Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterton area in New Jersey.
The Baltimore metropolitan statistical area includes the city and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Queen Anne's counties.
Fletcher Hall, director of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, linked the trend toward increased homeownership in the Baltimore area to several factors. Compared to many big cities, he said, Baltimore City has always had a tradition of homeownership passed down from family to family.