WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Homeownership in the United States hit a 17-1/2-year low in the second quarter as Americans continue to shift toward renting, underscoring the lingering effects of the recession on the housing market.
The seasonally adjusted homeownership rate slipped to 65.1 percent, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 1995, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. The rate, which peaked at 69.4 percent in 2004, was 65.2 percent in the first quarter.
The residential rental vacancy rate fell four tenths of a percentage point to 8.2 percent, the lowest reading since the first quarter of 2001. It has dropped from a peak of 11.1 percent in 2009.
In the second quarter, the decline in homeownership was concentrated in the 45-54 age group, where it fell four tenths of a point. It rose among people 65 years and older, in line with recent trends.
Ownership among people between 55 and 64 years fell 0.3 percentage point in the second quarter. There were small gains in the 35-44 age cohort.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
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