U.S. homeownership a record, report says

May 02, 2004|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

U.S. homeownership set a record for the third quarter in a row in the three months that ended March 31 as falling mortgage rates made houses more affordable, according to a government report released last month.

The share of households that own their homes increased to 68.6 percent from 68.5 percent in the fourth quarter and 68.3 percent in the third, a report from the Census Bureau showed.

Borrowing costs dipped to a nine-month low in March, making it possible for more people to buy homes, said Lawrence Yun, an economist with the National Association of Realtors in Washington.

President Bush is highlighting the homeownership rate, saying it's a barometer of the country's economic health, as he campaigns for re-election.

"Lower mortgage rates make the monthly payment within the reach of more people, giving them a chance to buy their first home," Yun said.

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