Homeownership in the U.S. was 66.9% in the third quarter, down 0.7% compared with the same period last year and the lowest rate since 1999, according to the Census Bureau. The high point for homeownership came in the fourth quarter of 2004, when it reached 69.2%. Fitch Ratings said it will take the housing market more than three years to absorb a shadow inventory of lender-owned houses, properties in foreclosure and homes with mortgages that are delinquent.

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