The percentage of US homes with a personal computer reached 50% in 1998, according to research firm Dataquest Inc. The Gartner Group unit said Tuesday that the number of homes with a PC has soared from just 27% in 1995, driven by falling prices, increased performance and desire for access to the internet. The 1998 numbers were up slightly from 1997, when 43% if US homes had a PC. In 1996, the penetration rate was 36%. Dataquest’s research also showed that first time buyers are coming from households in the lower socio-economic levels, although the increase in penetration is across all segments.