Fewer Tennesseans Own Homes In Wake of Recession

Nov 15, 2013

Credit James Thompson, via Flickr

Fewer Tennesseans own their own homes today than before the Great Recession, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The American Community Survey (ACS) found the percentage of Tennesseans who owned a home dropped slightly, from a little more than 70 percent in 2007 to 67.5 percent in 2012. The housing crash of 2007 marked the end of a three-year period in which home ownership rates in Tennessee increased.

Home ownership may be down, but the housing market in general is making a comeback. The median value of homes in the state has increased from $135,400 in 2007-09, to more than $138,000 in 2012. The higher prices might push home ownership out of reach for some, but the Tennessee Housing Development Agency reports lower borrowing costs helped homebuyers make their purchases.

Among other findings from the ACS, released on Thursday:

  • The percentage of Tennesseans living in mobile homes dipped slightly, from 10.2 percent in 2009 to 9.8 percent in 2012.
  • Foreclosures and other factors made renting look like a better option for many during the recession; average rent rates in Tennessee increased from $711 during the 2007-09 period to $731 in 2012.
  • About a quarter of homeowners with a mortgage spent more than they could afford on their homes. That's about the same percentage as before and during the recession.

The ACS is a periodic update of the once-every-decade census, and includes more detail than its more well-known parent. It measures economic and societal conditions in 40 different categories, from education to housing to language.