The U.S. homeownership rate soared to an almost 12-year high in the second quarter as low interest rates allowed more Americans to qualify for home loans. The homeownership rate jumped to 67.9%, the highest since 2008’s third quarter, from 65.3% in the prior quarter, the Census Bureau said. The reported noted a change in methodology that could have impacted the numbers: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person interviews were suspended and most of the survey was conducted by telephone, the release said.
The cheapest financing costs on record have widened the pool of people who qualify for home loans, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. Lenders qualify applicants by the amount of the monthly payment measured against their income, and when financing costs go down the payment shrinks. “Lower rates always do a magic trick of bringing more buyers into the housing market,” Yun said in an interview.