From the Wall Street Journal:
The meltdown of the U.S. mortgage market and rising foreclosures have wiped out more homeowners than were created in the 2000-07 housing boom, some industry watchers say, the latest indication of the severity of the housing bust.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, 66.5% of Americans owned homes, down from 67.2% a year earlier and the lowest rate since the end of 1998, according the Census Bureau. During the boom, when easy credit made mortgages available with less regard for income or ability to pay, the ownership rate surged to a record 69.2% in 2004's second and fourth quarters and stayed near that level until the recession deepened.
Some industry watchers expect the rate to slip below 65% as the housing market meltdown forces millions more Americans to give up their homes.
That "shows how big the bubble was and how catastrophic the bursting has been," said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist with Capital Economics. "We have pretty much reversed all of the increases in the home-owner rate generated by the housing boom."