The national homeownership rate continued its downward trend in 2014 as the share of U.S. renter households reached its highest level in 20 years, according to the annual State of the Nation's Housing report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. A record number of U.S. renters are also facing housing cost burdens, the new research showed.
For the 10th straight year, the national homeownership rate dropped in 2014, falling to 64.5 percent. The rate ticked down to an even lower 63.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015.
The number of U.S. owner-occupied households fell for the eighth consecutive year in 2014, dropping by 233,000.
"Perhaps the most telling indicator of the state of the nation's housing is the drop in the homeownership rate to just 64.5 percent last year," the Joint Center for Housing Studies's Managing Director Chris Herbert said in a statement. "This erases nearly all of the increase from the previous two decades. In fact, the number of homeowners fell for the eighth straight year, and the trend does not appear to be abating."
Despite areas of improvement, however, the report found that homeownership rates are still trending downward, low-income households face persistent challenges finding affordable housing and millions of Americans continue to grapple with high housing costs.