Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Veteran Ownership Outpaces Non-Veterans

Historically, the homeownership rate for veterans of the United States military has outpaced that of non-veterans. At the peak of the market in 2006, the ownership rate for veterans was 79.5 percent[1], 12.3 percentage points higher than that of non-veterans. Like non-veterans, the ownership rate for veterans fell sharply in the subsequent years and stood at 76.0 percent in 2014, but the gap between the two groups grew to 13.5 percentage points.

The ownership rate for active duty veterans tells a different story. The ownership rate for active duty veterans has on average been lower than that of non-veterans. This difference likely reflects lower median age and job mobility. However, the ownership rate for active duty military personnel fell sharply from 47.7 percent at its peak in 2005 to a low of 32.9 percent in 2013. Active duty homeownership bounced to 34.7 percent in 2014, but remains historically low.

The Veterans Administration offers excellent mortgage products and terms and remains a strong source of funding for veterans seeking to purchase a home. Still, the decline in homeownership among active duty personnel over the last decade may reflect underlying demographic, mobility, and geographic changes that will take time to normalize. More research on this topic is necessary.

[1] Defined as any level of service, active or not.

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