The proportion of Americans owning their homes fell to the lowest point in nearly a decade at the end of 2009, reflecting continuing troubles in the housing market even as the sector showed signs of stabilising.

An index of pending sales of previously owned homes increased 1.0% to 96.6 in December, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday, suggesting the housing market is steadying after sharp swings caused by the uncertain fate of a government tax credit.

Yet home ownership is sliding. Some 67.3% of Americans owned their homes in the fourth quarter of last year, based on seasonally adjusted data, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That is the lowest percentage since the second quarter of 2000, when the same share of Americans owned homes.

Wall Street Journal