The U.S. homeownership rate rose to a six-year high in the fourth quarter, led by gains among young people and low-income Americans.
The nationwide rate was 65.1%, the biggest since the end of 2013, according to a Census Bureau report Thursday. It was the second straight increase, climbing from 64.8% in the previous three months and a year earlier.
Falling mortgage rates are helping to ease affordability constraints that have kept renters from becoming homeowners. After a slowdown early last year, the sales market is hot again. Purchases of previously owned U.S. homes rose in December to the best pace in almost two years.
The sales surge is turning more young people and minorities into property owners. Black homeownership was the highest since 2012, the census data show. The rates for Americans under age 35 and for those earning less than the median income were the highest since 2011.
Even with the improvement, the homeownership rate, badly damaged in last decade’s housing crash, is far from the peak of 69.2% reached in June 2004.