"If you start out as a 44-year-old and you don't have a house, it would be very difficult for you to achieve homeownership in the next 10 years with the same probability as was true 10 years ago," he said.
In addition, America is becoming increasingly ethnically diverse, and homeownership rates historically have been lower for Hispanics and African Americans.
In the fourth quarter of 2015, the homeownership rate for non-Hispanic whites was 72.2 percent, while for Hispanics it was 46.7 percent and just 41.9 percent for African Americans, according to Census Bureau data.
Income is a key factor in those different rates: White Americans' real median income in 2014 was $60,256, well above Hispanics' at $42,492 and African Americans' at $35,398, according to 2015 Current Population Survey data.
That said, seniors' homeownership rates may not change as much as the next youngest age group. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard found that while overall rates of homeownership fell through 2014 — nearly erasing the increase over the previous 20 years — seniors saw the smallest decline.