The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the nation’s homeownership rate fell to 66 percent in the fourth quarter, marking a seven-year drop from a fourth-quarter peak of 69.2 percent in 2004, according to USA Today. 
Falling homeownership — and prices — reflect the worst housing downturn since the Depression. And while there are signs that the housing industry's downturn may at least be nearing a bottom, the impact of the collapse will be evident for years to come, economists say.
As of November, average U.S. home prices were back to mid-2003 levels, S&P says.
Many economists expect home prices to continue to fall this year and maybe into next year before stabilizing and then showing little or no appreciation for some time.
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