According to new numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the share of Americans who own their own homes fell to 64.4 percent in the third quarter, down from 64.7 percent in the previous quarter. The decline brought homeownership to its lowest level in nearly 20 years, though it is still in line with its historical average. In fact, between 1965 and 1999, the homeownership rate averaged 64.5 percent. It peaked in 2004, when it reached 69.2 percent. Still, a closer look at the numbers reveals some of the reasons behind the declining number of homeowners over the past 10 years. For example, when broken down based on age, the data shows that the number of homeowners under the age of 35 has fallen to 36 percent. By comparison, the homeownership rate among Americans over the age of 65 is 80 percent. The declining number of young homeowners highlights the fact that first-time home buyers have been underrepresented in the current market. Over the past three months, for example, they accounted for just 29 percent of home sales. Historically, the share of first-time buyers is closer to 40 percent. Also in the report, homeownership was highest in the Midwest, at 68.8 percent, and lowest in the West, at 59.4 percent. More here.