We found historical homeownership rates buried in a digitized Census Bureau report from the 1970s indexed and searchable at the University of Minnesota.
We’ve reproduced the additional data points in the chart and table. You can find the quarter to quarter homeownership data from the Census Bureau at the St. Louis Fed’s FRED economic indicator database.
Historical Homeownership Rate Data Points, for 1890 through 1970
(There is a ton of interesting data in that document, beyond the historical homeownership rate… some even back to the 1770s).
Homeownership in the United States
The United States has, for better or worse, increased the overall homeownership rate significantly from the turn of the 20th century. That’s on top of a rapidly increasing population.
Some of that is our innovations on the 30 year mortgage. Because of that program, we’ve been able to make homeownership much more accessible to the population.
Of course, it’s not 100% clear that a high home-ownership rate is an unalloyed good. One obvious counterexample: the effects of mobility of renters vs. owners on the labor market.
We’ll stay away from the normative statements though, for now.