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U.S. home-ownership rate continues to slip

Census Bureau: Only Northeast defied trend

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The home-ownership rate continues to retreat from record highs, as the number of owner-occupied homes declined in a year when the nation added 2 million new housing units. A new Census Bureau report shows the home-ownership rate slipped to 67.8 percent during the fourth quarter of 2007, down a full percentage point from 68.9 percent a year ago. The home-ownership rate, which had hovered around 64 percent during the 1980s and early 1990s, began a steady upward climb in 1995. The rate broke the 69 percent threshold during three quarters in 2004 and 2005 before beginning a retreat last year. Erosion of the home-ownership rate appeared to accelerate in the fourth quarter, falling 40 basis points from the 68.2 percent rate recorded in the second and third quarters of 2007. At the regional level, the Midwest had the highest home-ownership rate (71.7 percent), followed by the South (70 percent), Northeast (64.6 percent) and West (62.7 percent). For the year, home-ownership rat...