The national homeownership rate rose to 65.1% in the final quarter of 1995, its highest point in 15 years.

The gain of nearly 1% from the yearend 1994 rate of 64.2% was the sharpest increase in homeownership in at least 30 years.

The Clinton administration last year launched a program aimed at pushing homeownership to an all-time high of 67.5% by the end of the year 2000.

Henry G. Cisneros, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said last year's gains bode well for the program. "We are clearly headed in the right direction," Mr. Cisneros said.

Homeownership rates rose significantly for three groups that are key to the administration's efforts to add eight million more families to the ranks of homeowners by 2000.

The homeownership rate for minorities in the fourth quarter of 1995 rose to 44.3% from 43.7%. For households in the under-35 age group, the rate rose to 57.9% from 57.1%. And for households with less than median income, which the government classifies as low- and moderate-income households, the rate rose to 49.4% from 48.6%.

The administration's homeownership strategy consists of partnerships with 56 housing and finance industry groups, which are working to cut the costs of homeownership, remove discriminatory and regulatory barriers, and counsel underserved groups on how to finance the purchase of a home.

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