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Home Ownership Fading And So Is American Dream

CNBC.com

It’s not like you couldn’t have predicted this, but the home ownership rate in the U.S. fell in the fourth quarter of 2007 to its lowest level since the beginning of 2002--this from a record high in the middle of 2004.

President Bush, as I recall, touted that record rate in his mantra of an “ownership society.” Oh well. I'm guessing the current gang of Presidential wannabes will jump all over this one.

But what really gets me in this report released today from the U.S. Censusis the little-reported homeowner vacancy rate. It’s up at 2.8 percent, which is a full percentage point above where it was 2 years ago. There are currently close to 18 million vacant homes stretched across this country, a full million more than just a year ago. The bulk of the increase, of course, is in foreclosed homes.

Think about it--more and more empty houses in neighborhoods across America, as the home ownership rate continues to fall. Where's the "American Dream" hiding in all that?

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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