A curious statistic, huh?
I ran across this discussion at Marginal Revolution: Is a high home ownership rate a sign of a successful country?
The post notes that Switzerland, Germany, and Austria have the lowest homeownership rates in Europe, yet all three of those economies are considered among the strongest on the continent.
The highest rates of homeownership are in former Communist bloc countries, with Spain coming in at #9 but with a still very high rate of 83 percent.
I honestly haven’t given this a huge amount of thought and it might be that European history and economic trends make the data irrelevant to the U.S.
But the evidence is pretty clear that modern, industrialized countries do not need high homeownership rates to have vigorous economies. I located a pic on a forum of the original El Pais article. If you can’t figure out the English equivalents of the country names, Google can help you out. Click for a bigger version: