Homeownership in the U.S. fell again in the latest quarter to its lowest point in four years amid growing repossessions by lenders due to a housing downturn which has seen increasing numbers of delinquencies and foreclosures.

The percentage of Americans who are homeowners dropped to 68.1 percent in the third quarter ending in September compared to the previous three months, according to a report Friday from Washington's Census Bureau.

Homeownership reached a peak of 69.3 percent in 2004.

The Bureau said that 17.9 million homes were unoccupied during the latest quarter, a rise of 7.8 percent compared to 16.6 million a year ago.