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The percentage of United States households owning a home dropped again last year - to 63.8 percent from a peak of 65.6 percent in 1980. ``It is getting tougher and tougher for young households to purchase their first homes,'' says Shirley Wiseman, president of the National Association of Home Builders.

But those Americans who do own their own houses are spending more to fix them up. They spent a record breaking $100 billion last year to maintain, remodel and renovate them, according to the NAHB. That's twice as much as they were in 1983.

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