According to the U.S. Census Bureau, slightly less than two-thirds of the American population own their own home today. 65.9 percent of the country reported owning a home, but Morgan Stanley analysts argue that the number is much lower – more like 59.2 percent once borrowers who have delinquent mortgages but have not yet lost their homes are factored in. This would put homeownership at its lowest level since 1965, which was the earliest point in time at which the Census Bureau recorded quarterly homeownership statistics. Even then, the bureau did not factor in mortgage delinquencies.
The Morgan Stanley report estimates that there may be thousands or even millions of people “still technically considered homeowners” who may “squat for months or even years because banks have been slow to process foreclosures in recent months.” Both Morgan Stanley and the Census Bureau are in agreement that homeownership levels, whatever they may be currently, are set to drop further in the coming months.
Does this surprise you? What should be done about this situation, or do we just need to let it play out?
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