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First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 4th Quarter 2018

Monday, April 1, 2019

From Cheryl Russell for Demo Memo

After a month’s delay because of the government shutdown, the Census Bureau has released the 4th quarter 2018 homeownership statistics. They show an uptick in the homeownership rate of younger adults. The homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds – the nation’s first-time homebuyers – increased in the fourth quarter of 2018, rising above 58% for the first time since 2011.

Post Great Recession, the homeownership rate of the age group dipped as low as 54.6% in 2015. It peaked at 65.7% in 2007. Clearly, there is an upward trend in the homeownership rate of this age group, likely due to the full-employment economy.

What about their younger counterparts, householders aged 30 to 34, who were once the nation’s first-time homebuyers? Their homeownership rate rose to 48.4% in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from 47.1% a year earlier.

Before the Great Recession, 30-to-34-year-olds were the nation’s first-time homebuyers (defined as the age group in which the homeownership rate first surpasses 50%). But their rate fell below 50% in 2011 and has been stuck there ever since. With the recent gains, 30-to-34-year-olds may be on their way to reclaiming first-time homebuyer status.


Nationally, the homeownership rate was 64.8% in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from 64.2% one year earlier. The difference is not statistically significant.

After a month’s delay because of the government shutdown, the Census Bureau has released the 4th quarter 2018 homeownership statistics. They show an uptick in the homeownership rate of younger adults. The homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds – the nation’s first-time homebuyers – increased in the fourth quarter of 2018, rising above 58% for the first time since 2011.

Post Great Recession, the homeownership rate of the age group dipped as low as 54.6% in 2015. It peaked at 65.7% in 2007. Clearly, there is an upward trend in the homeownership rate of this age group, likely due to the full-employment economy.

What about their younger counterparts, householders aged 30 to 34, who were once the nation’s first-time homebuyers? Their homeownership rate rose to 48.4% in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from 47.1% a year earlier.

Before the Great Recession, 30-to-34-year-olds were the nation’s first-time homebuyers (defined as the age group in which the homeownership rate first surpasses 50%). But their rate fell below 50% in 2011 and has been stuck there ever since. With the recent gains, 30-to-34-year-olds may be on their way to reclaiming first-time homebuyer status.


Nationally, the homeownership rate was 64.8% in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from 64.2% one year earlier. The difference is not statistically significant.

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