According to the U.S. Department of Commerce on Monday, home ownership levels are at 66.5 percent for the fourth quarter, the lowest they have been since the fourth quarter of 1998. Not surprisingly, at 9.4% the rental vacany rate is the lowest it's been since 2003.
"Further foreclosures, a continuation of poor economic and tight credit conditions ... means that the homeownership rate probably has further to fall," says Paul Dales, senior U.S. Economist for the company. "The desire to own a home is clearly much weaker than it once was.
As people leave their homes due to foreclosure or short sales, the rental market has picked up to allow for this new gap in homeownership.