The percentage of Americans who own their home is in the greatest decline since the Great Depression, according to government data.
American homeownership over the past decade fell to 65.1%, an overall drop that equals 1.1%.
And although that figure pales in comparison to the 4.2% drop in the 1930's, CNN Money says these numbers only tell half the story.
The data shows that home ownership in the 2000s peaked in the middle of the decade, up to almost 70% in 2004.
"The crash from that peak was more than 4 percentage points in just about five years -- a far more dramatic decline than the 1.1% drop over the 10-year period."
These numbers are accompanied by more upsetting statistics about homelessness, foreclosures, and vacant homes.
Reports show the percentage of vacant housing jumped 43.8% to 15 million, or 11.4% of all houses -- up from 10.4 million homes in 2000.
Wondering how you can gain an exposure to the real estate market without having to buy an actual house?
Real Estate Investment Trusts offer an easy way to gain access to a portfolio of real estate holdings. They trade just like stocks, and give investors a chance to own a slice of a large collection of properties.
Of course, with all the doom and gloom surrounding the current housing market, short sellers are paying close attention. Below we've listed five Real Estate Investment Funds that have seen a sharp increase in shares shorted over the last month (i.e., increased bets that these investments will fall in value).
Short-sellers seem to think these real estate stocks are in deep trouble -- do you? How long before the housing market stabilizes, and ultimately rebounds?
Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas)
1. American Capital Agency
2. Apartment Investment & Management
3. ARMOUR Residential REIT
4. Campus Crest Communities
5. Education Realty Trust
Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.
Kapitall's Eben Esterhuizen and Rebecca Lipman do not own any of the shares mentioned above. Data sourced from Yahoo! Finance.
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