While home ownership rates have fluctuated, they are retreating to more reasonable levels before a spike in the early 2000s — levels Weiler called “an aberration.” Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the Division of Housing in the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, agreed home ownership is not going away, just stabilizing. Rates “were at unsustainable numbers for awhile,” he said. Back in the ’60s when the country experienced real wealth growth, home ownership topped out at 65 percent, he said.
In the ’90s, numbers jumped again when “more people were able to get into more homes by adopting more debt,” he said. “It wasn’t part of a larger issue where income was growing so everyone was running around buying houses.” And it’s likely the rate will go up again as rental units shrink and rents rise, McMaken said. “Eventually rents will get so high due to low vacancies people will become very interested in buying,” he said. “That will drive up sales prices then we will see owners of single-family rentals begin to sell them rather than rent them out.”