The homeownership rate in the U.S. slid to the lowest the country has seen in 13 years during the fourth quarter of 2010, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. At 66.5%, the number was 0.4% below the previous quarter and down 0.7% year-over-year.

Across the board statistics painted a dreary, if not surprising, picture of homeownership rates, with numbers down everywhere. The largest fall appeared in the West, which dropped 1.3% from a year ago.

The homeowner housing vacancy rate rose to 2.7% as foreclosures continued to plague markets across the country, up from 2.5% the previous quarter. Regionally, the South and Midwest tied with 2.8% of homeowner housing stock left vacant, although for the South this represented a 1.0% decline from the year before, while the Midwest’s number was unchanged on an annual basis. The West and Northeast showed vacancy rates of 2.7% and 2.0% respectively.

As homeownership sank, the rental vacancy rate reached its lowest reading since the beginning of 2003, at 9.4% in the fourth quarter, down 1.3% on an annual basis. Regionally, the South has the largest percentage of rental vacancies (11.5%) but also saw the biggest year-over-year drop, down 2.2%. The West and Midwest also saw modest declines in rental vacancies, while the Northeast saw a small increase of 0.3% from the previous year.

Claire Easley is senior editor, online at Builder.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Greenville, SC.