U.S. homeownership rate falls to 20-year low

A home for sale sign hangs in front of a house in Oakton, Virginia March 27, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Home ownership in the United States fell to a near 20-year low in the third quarter as more Americans turned to renting, in a sign housing still has a long way to fully recover from the effects of the recession.

The seasonally adjusted home ownership rate fell to 64.3 percent, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 1994, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. The rate, which peaked at 69.4 percent in 2004, was 64.8 percent in the second quarter.

The residential rental vacancy rate fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.4 percent in the third quarter, the lowest reading since the first quarter of 1995.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe