John Burns Real Estate Consulting claims the “real” homeownership rate has fallen to 62.1%, the lowest level in about 50 years, according to a bulletin it released Monday.
The U.S. Census Bureau figure of 65.5% is overstated, according to the firm, because it counts all 3.8 million homeowners even though they are more than 90 days delinquent on the mortgage payment.
Usually, the difference between the official and the real rate is about 1%. Factors contributing to the widening of the gap, according to John Burns, include the significant economic downturn; understaffing at banks in the face of a backlog of delinquent mortgages and loan-modifcation procedures; and “clever borrowers, who have figured out how to life for free for months and even years.
The firm expressed confidence that homeownership will rebound, and surveys show the American dream of homeownership is “as strong as ever.”