Despite the thousands of homes in foreclosure, the national homeownership rate stayed fairly steady at 68.1 percent in 2008's second quarter, according to figures released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. It represented a 0.1 dip from the previous quarter and a .03 reduction from the same time a year ago, which is not statistically significant, according to the Census.

The report did indicate a drop in homeownership in the West, a 13-state Census region that includes California and Nevada. Both of these states have been hit hard by the housing crisis, both in terms of the number of foreclosed homes and the rate of foreclosures among their households. In the second quarter, the homeownership rate in the West fell to 63 percent, which was a drop of 1.1 percentage points on an annual basis.

Surprisingly, given the attention to subprime lending’s impact on minority borrowers, the homeownership rate increased 1.5 percentage points among black Americans in the second quarter to 47.8 percent. (The rate among white, non-Hispanic Americans is 75.2 percent.)

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Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.