As real estate reached precarious conditions before 2007, home ownership was at an all-time high. Now, the ever-changing market conditions have those numbers back down to levels not seen in decades.
Recently, the number of foreclosed houses is down, according to CoreLogic. Even though more borrowers are able to stay afloat, there are still a number of vacant homes and ownership rates are declining.
Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on residential vacancies and homeownership over the second quarter of 2013 has numbers virtually unchanged from quarter one, but on a year to year basis the statistics are trending down.
Across the country vacancy rates were 8.2 percent for rental housing and nearly 2 percent for homeowner housing. The homeownership rate was 65 percent, slightly lower than the same time last year. National record highs were last seen in 2004, at 69.2 percent. Since then, the rate has been headed in the wrong direction, and the bubble collapse did little to help homeowners hang on to their properties.
The Census Bureau data has second quarter rates identical to the first quarter, but since the end of 2004 the statistic has been in a fairly steady yearly decline. On a regional basis, the Midwest was the highest while the West, at 59.4 percent, had the lowest homeownership rate. Other areas have been fairly consistent over the past year.
How to keep Americans buying
Many potential changes by financial regulators could help encourage buyer activity, as a major concern has been rising rates and monetary limitations, according to Bloomberg.
Similar conditions to the market collapse are avoidable, but some worry that real estate is headed in that direction again.
"Low down-payment loans coupled with exotic adjustable rate mortgages helped fuel a massive housing bubble, which ultimately burst and took down the financial sector," Anthony Sanders, professor at George Mason University, told the news source. "So the question now is do we want to do this again?"
President Obama, in a July 24 speech, mentioned that the attention should be focused on home buying. Americans need to believe that buyers and lenders play by the same rules, creating a solid foundation for real estate, he added.
One possible help could come from first-time buyers and borrowers with poor credit, many of whom desire a chance to own again, Bloomberg noted. This is contrary to conditions from the 2000s, and the current presidential administration desires more balance in the market overall. The belief that the only direction is up no longer remains, and adjustments should be made to protect home buyers.