NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Home Ownership Hit Record In 1998

September 27, 1999

The proportion of Americans owning and living in their own home hit a record last year -- surpassing the old record set in 1980.

  • Of the nation's 103 million households, 66.6 percent occupy homes owned by a member of the household -- compared to the old record of 65.8 percent.
  • Households in every age group have gained since 1995.
  • The record numbers really depend on the proportion of homeowners age 55 and up -- with those in all other age categories falling behind since 1980.
  • Fifteen years ago, the customary down payment was 15 percent of the purchase price -- compared to much less today, often 5 percent or less.

Home ownership took off in a big way just after World War II. The next big spurt was in the mid-1970s, just before home prices and mortgages rates began to rise.

Among homeowners, the median household income has risen to nearly $46,000 -- up 16 percent since 1982, after adjusting for inflation. Home ownership has recently become too expensive for those with less than $25,000 in annual income, experts report. More than 30 percent of all households fall into that category.

Source: Louis Uchitelle, "In Home Ownership Data, A Hidden Generation Gap," New York Times, September 26, 1999.


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