Us

U.S. Homeownership at Lowest Level in a Decade

FILE - In this July 2, 2008 file photo, a bank owned home is seen for sale in Sacramento, Calif. The foreclosure crisis intensified across a majority of large U.S. metropolitan areas this summer, with Chicago and Seattle _ cities outside of the states that have shouldered the worst of the housing downturn _ seeing a sharp increase in foreclosure warnings. California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona remain the nation's foreclosure hotbeds, accounting for 19 of the top 20 metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates between July and September, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday Oct. 28, 2010.  (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, file)

FILE - In this July 2, 2008 file photo, a bank owned home is seen for sale in Sacramento, Calif. The foreclosure crisis intensified across a majority of large U.S. metropolitan areas this summer, with Chicago and Seattle _ cities outside of the states that have shouldered the worst of the housing downturn _ seeing a sharp increase in foreclosure warnings. California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona remain the nation's foreclosure hotbeds, accounting for 19 of the top 20 metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates between July and September, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday Oct. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, file)  (AP)

The nation's homeownership rate is at the lowest level in more than a decade, hampered by a rise in foreclosures and weak demand for housing.

The percentage of households that owned their homes was unchanged at 66.9 percent in the July-September quarter, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. That's the same as the April-June quarter.

The last time the rate was lower was in 1999, when the rate was 66.7 percent.

The nation's homeownership rate was around 64 percent from 1985 through 1995. It then rose dramatically during the Clinton and Bush administrations, hitting a peak of more than 69 percent in 2004 at the height of the housing boom.

After the housing bubble burst, the rate has been declining gradually.

About 18.8 million homes, or 14.4 percent of all houses and apartments, were vacant, according to the government survey. That was down slightly from the second quarter of the year, when 18.9 million houses and apartments were vacant.

About 2.5 percent of all primary residences were vacant and for sale and 10.3 percent of all year-round rental units were listed as vacant and for rent.