Home ownership at lowest level since 2000

According to the United States Census Bureau, the rate of home ownership in the United States was 67.3% in the first quarter of 2009 -- its lowest rate since the second quarter of 2000. Here, courtesy of Consumer Reports, are the numbers by age group:

  • Under 35 years: 39.8%

  • 35 to 44 years: 65.7%

  • 45 to 54 years: 74.6%

  • 55 to 64 years: 79.8%

  • 65 years and over: 80.4%

Here's what this means: All the lax lending standards and subprime sludge did nothing to increase home ownership in the long run. People bought houses and then lost them, destroying their credit and wiping out whatever savings they had. The loans were sold to investors and proceeded to lay waste to people's retirement accounts. The only people who benefited were the mortgage brokers and real estate agents, along with the bank executives who were paid enormous bonuses before the whole thing fell apart.