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U.S. Homeownership Hits High in 3rd Quarter

October 23, 1998|Associated Press

The percentage of American families who own their homes hit a record 66.8% in the third quarter, boosted by low mortgage rates and a strong economy, the Housing and Urban Development Department said. The number of families owning their own homes hit 69.1 million, up from 68.3 million in the second quarter. The homeownership rate of 66% in the second quarter had tied the previous record reached in the 1997 third quarter. Among the nation's white population, homeownership hit 73.1%, up from 72.5%. That contrasts with the 46.8% ownership rate among blacks, up from 45.3% in the second quarter, and 44.9% among Latinos, up from 43.9%. Separately, Freddie Mac said the average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell back to 6.73% this week after rising sharply the week before. Fifteen-year mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, averaged 6.34%, down from 6.58%. On one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 5.37%, up from 5.35%. The rates do not include add-on fees known as points.

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