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Homeownership rate in the US soars to highest level since 2008

Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The US homeownership rate jumped to the highest since 2008, signaling that the housing boom under way before the pandemic has only accelerated.

The rate was 67.9% in the second quarter, according to a Census Bureau report Tuesday. It was the fourth straight increase, climbing from 65.3% in the previous three months.

The housing market has defied expectations, rebounding strongly after a pause starting in March when most U.S. businesses shut down to slow the spread of Covid-19. Americans with jobs have been eager to move away from densely packed cities and apartment buildings, and the drop in borrowing costs to a record low in the quarter widened the pool of potential buyers.

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“Mortgage rates are the icing on the cake for households that were thinking about buying,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist for Haus, a co-investment platform for homebuyers. “They found an unexpected opportunity during the worst economic downturn America has seen since the Great Depression.”