The American Dream of owning a home is at its lowest point in 15 years, more evidence that the housing market is far from recovery even five years after the housing crash.

According to the latest Census Bureau Data, the percentage of Americans who own their homes dropped a full point over the last year to 65.4% during the first three months of 2012. That's the lowest rate since 1997.

"This still reflects the after shock of the bursting of the housing bubble. Home ownership had reached unrealistically high levels during the peak of the housing boom and now they are falling back to where they should be" said James Hughes, an economist at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, New Brunswick.

He said there's still a long way to go before the nation gets back to a sustainable home ownership rate. "We are two percentage points below where we should be right now."

That is putting pressure back on rental markets, said Hughes.

"The lending standards for mortgages have become much more strict, so buyers really have to meet all of the qualifications like a background check, financial check, and that's still difficult for many people, who are in turn, renting."

He said rents are at their lowest level in decades. "Realtors are fixing up houses and renting them out at a pretty good rate because young people, mainly those in their early 30's can't afford to buy a home right now, especially when most are saddled with high student debt."

Hughes says the rest of 2012 will also be a struggle for the housing market.

"We are not in a full on recovery, but we are not deteriorating either, I think its going to take quite a few years for the market to get back on its feet."