A report released Monday from John Burns Real Estate Consulting revealed that the real homeownership rate-measured as the percentage of households that own a home and are not seriously delinquent on their mortgage-has fallen to 62.1 percent, the lowest level in almost half a century. The firm said that the Census Bureau's 65.5 percent homeownership estimate was a vast overestimate, as it includes 3.8 million homeowners who are 90 or more days delinquent.
Experts surveyed by Zillow expect home prices to decline slightly in 2012, and predict they will bottom in 2013, according to the June 2012 Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey.
The survey included 114 respondents with backgrounds ranging from economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists.
The respondents’ June prediction for home prices is that they will fall 0.4 percent in 2012, and then rise by 1.3 percent in 2013. In 2014, they expect home prices to rise by 2.5 percent, then rise by 3 percent in 2015, and then go up by 3.3 percent in 2016.
The survey, which was conducted by Pulsenomics LLC, is based on the projected path of the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index during the coming five years.
The average cumulative prediction to 2014 was 3.5 percent. Although prices are expected to move on a positive track, two years ago in June 2010, the average prediction among respondents for cumulative appreciation into 2014 was 10.3 percent.
The most optimistic quartile of experts predicted, on average, a 1 percent increase in 2012, and the most pessimistic quartile of respondents expected to see an average decline of 2 percent.
“It’s good to start to see some convergence of expectations among economists, as it lends further support to the claim that a bottom is real,” said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries. Not all the gathered data was positive for the housing industry.
Most respondents, 56 percent, believe the homeownership rate will, in five years, drop below 65.4 percent, the rate recorded in the first quarter of 2012.
One in five also think the homeownership rate will be at or below 63 percent; the lowest rate on record was established in 1965 and is 62.9 percent.
“However, the fact that more than half of respondents believe that the homeownership rate will fall lower should be a sobering reminder that significant challenges remain ahead for the housing market, from negative equity to millions of foreclosed homeowners who now have impaired credit, making a return to homeownership harder than it would be otherwise,” said Humphries.