GenX buyers have surged back as homeowners.

Economists who look for and explore the "hole in the donut" in data tend to be more fun, and are sometimes more helpful than the sages who're focused on the headline data point.

As the Census released its fourth quarter Homeownership and Vacancy Survey this week, a reflexive response was to note the slight uptick in the quarter-to-quarter trend, extending a flicker of hope that the long, worrisome fall in homeownership rates had hit a tipping point. Trulia chief economist Ralph McLaughlin filtered through the data cuts and came up with a nugget that should bear on how home builders and master plan developers market and target generationally in the months ahead.

Simply, it's this: don't forget Generation X, the Rodney Dangerfield demographic cohort. McLaughlin writes:

Of particular note was the sharp increase in the homeownership rate for Gen X’ers. Households aged 35-44 increased their homeownership rate a full 1.2 percentage points, moving from 58.1% to 59.3%. Many Gen Xers lost their homes during the recession, so this is a positive sign that we may be seeing boomerang buyers coming back into housing market.

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