U.S. Sees More Renters, Less Buyers

Washington, D.C.–Started in 2002, President Bush’s homeownership campaign seems to have been derailed by the high U.S. apartment rental rate, the New York Times reports.The weak housing market and high foreclosure rate have helped boost rentals and drive homeownership down. The percentage of homeowner-run households descended from 69.1 percent in 2005 to 67.8 percent this year–the most severe drop-off in 20 years, according to census data.The percentage of renter-headed households grew from 30.9 percent to 32.2 percent. Yet finding an adequate apartment isn’t easy, due to shrinking vacancies and higher rents. Rents have gone up roughly 11 percent since 2005, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.Renters hoping to purchase a home face difficult lending standards; many are delaying buying because they’re afraid prices will fall further.As a result, Bush’s campaign to provide homeownership to millions of Americans–minority and low-income families in particular–has stalled, the Times said.Some economists, including Moody’s Economy.com chief economist Mark Zandi, feel the housing slump has hurt minority and lower-income homeowners the most. Because minority families were more likely to be issued subprime loans, economists think the families also may comprise an unequal share of the country’s foreclosures.