The U.S. homeownership rate may fall to as low as 55 percent because more Americans are choosing to rent as they postpone getting married and having children, according to Sam Zell, chairman of Equity Residential.
Demographic and lifestyle changes, more than economic factors, are driving down the ownership rate over the long term, Zell said at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills on April 28. As of 2010, about 54 percent of adults were married, down from 57 percent a decade earlier, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“The Deferral of marriage has such a staggering impact on real estate and I just don’t think people focus on it”
said Zell, 72, whose Chicago-based Equity Residential is the largest U.S. apartment landlord.
“I don’t think the multifamily market has ever had a better set of future demographics.”
The homeownership rate fell to the lowest in almost 19 years, declining to 64.8 percent of the first quarter from 65.2 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau said today.
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