Home ownership in the U.S. dropped to its lowest level since 1997 as borrowers' homes were foreclosed on and buyers were kept away from the market due to tight inventory, according to Bloomberg.

The current rate is 65.4 percent, down from 66 percent in the fourth quarter and a whole percentage point lower than last year, the Census Bureau said in a statement today. Home ownership was at 69.2 percent, the record high, in June 2004.

The rate of home ownership might drop below 64 percent by 2015, and it could stay there until 2020, said Scott Simon, the mortgage bond head of Pacific Investment Management Co. in Newport Beach, Calif. Approximately 6 million homeowners in the U.S. will lose their homes in the next five years due to an inability to pay, Simon said in an interview on Bloomberg television on Tuesday. This will result in 4 million new rental households.

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