Stock photo - single family home Owning

History of Homeownership in America

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” These are values that America has cherished since our foundation.  

Did you know that originally, the thought was “life, liberty, and the pursuit of property”? Jefferson changed the wording here for a few reasons, but the sentiment remains: owning property is a core value in American culture. 

We have always taken great pride in owning a home, though it’s looked differently through the years.

Early 19th Century

This is the first period of time we have records regarding U.S. housing statistics. This was a difficult time in American history. Immigration and urbanization caused a major boom in the population, which left ownership rates rather low. Shortly after, the Great Depression hit, devastating the entire economy and leaving only 43.6% of Americans with a home by 1940.

Mid 19th Century

Things started to shift in the middle of the 1900’s as the economy began to improve. Home ownership rates skyrocketed – almost doubling – in a post-war America. By the time we hit the late 60’s, almost 65% of Americans had their own homes!

Late 19th Century

Things stayed pretty consistent between 1960 and the year 2000. Generally, rates fluctuated between 62-65%, reaching a high of 67% in late 1999. This was the result of a stable economy, job growth, and the beginning of the technology boom. In many ways, this was the boomer’s golden age of home ownership.

The Present

The housing market has been a bit volatile since 2000. Home ownership rates climbed to almost 70% in 2004. However, rates started to decrease from then until 2016, when they hit a low of 63.7%. Much of this decline mirrored the housing market crash of 2008, although it had already been in the works in the years prior. Luckily, things have been improving since then, and in 2019 about 65% of Americans owned their own homes.

Home ownership rates have had their ups and downs – and we’re currently in an upward swing. We anticipate that the housing market will continue to grow under the new presidential administration, and that home ownership rates will continue to go up!

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