The U.S. homeownership rate, which soared to a record high 69 percent in 2004, is back where it was two decades ago, before the housing bubble inflated, busted and ripped more than 7 million Americans from their homes, Bloomberg reported.

 

Meanwhile, foreclosures, which bounced people from their homes in the wake of the financial crisis, have dropped 20 percent over the last year, real estate analytics firm CoreLogic Inc. reported.

 

With ownership at 65 percent and house values rising, housing industry and consumer groups are pressing lawmakers to make the American dream more inclusive by ensuring new mortgage standards designed to prevent another crash that are flexible enough so more families can benefit from the recovery. 

 

Regulators are close to proposing a softened version of a rule requiring banks to keep a stake in risky mortgages they securitize, according to five people familiar with the discussions, Bloomberg said, and lawmakers are seeking to reduce the government's role in keeping rates affordable for riskier borrowers while ensuring homeownership is within reach of minorities and first-time buyers who could be needed to sustain the housing recovery as borrowing costs rise from record lows.

 

In its foreclosure report, CoreLogic said about 1 million homes were in some stage of foreclosure, known as the foreclosure inventory, compared with 1.4 million in June 2012, a year-over-year decrease of 28 percent. Month over month, the foreclosure inventory was down 2.9 percent from May to June and represented 2.5 percent of all homes with a mortgage compared with 3.4 percent a year ago.

 

In Iowa, the foreclosure inventory has dropped 0.4 percent over the year and now makes up 1.7 percent of all mortgages.

 

Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 4.5 million completed foreclosures across the country, CoreLogic said.