The nation's homeownership rate in the fourth quarter of 2011 was 66 percent, down 0.05 percent from the third quarter, the Census Bureau reported.
The rate peaked at 69.1 percent in the first quarter of 2005, during the housing boom, and has been declining since. It was down a half-percentage point from the fourth quarter of 2010.
Record foreclosures and tighter credit in the years since the housing bubble burst has reduced the homeownership rate.
About 86.1 percent of the housing units in the United States were occupied and 13.9 percent were vacant in the fourth quarter. Owner-occupied housing units made up 56.9 percent of total housing units, while renter-occupied units made up 29.3 percent of the inventory.