Interesting Facts About US Housing

Median Mortgage Interest Rate Dropped to 6.7 Percent

US Home Sales
US New Home Sales Rise To Highest Level In Seven Years. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

About 7.2 million homeowners took out home equity lines of credit in 2003, up 12 percent from 2001 when 6.4 million such credit lines were established. That's just one of the interesting facts and statistics reported in the latest edition of the American Housing Survey (AHS) [pdf], sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Now entering its fourth decade of publication, the AHS provides information on a variety of topics, including home ownership, characteristics of homes and their owners, housing costs, vacation homes, gated communities and people’s views of their neighborhoods.

Some more highlights from the latest AHS:

  • About 3.8 million homeowners had lump-sum home equity mortgages, down nearly 20 percent from 2001, when there were 4.7 million such loans.
  • Homeowners occupied more than 72 million homes. Overall, the nation had about 106 million occupied housing units.
  • Renters occupied 33.6 million housing units.
  • The nation’s median mortgage interest rate was 6.7 percent, down from 7.5 percent in 2001.
  • The median value of owner-occupied homes was $140,000.
  • Between 2001 and 2003, the number of owner-occupied units with four or more bedrooms increased by about 1 million to 18.7 million.
  • There were 3 million owner-occupied homes in planned gated communities.
  • The vacancy rate for rental housing units was 9.6 percent, up from 7.8 percent in 2001.
  • On a scale of 1-to-10, with 10 being the best, 3-in-4 homeowners rated their neighborhood an 8 or higher.