Vacancy Rates Remain Above Pre-Bubble Levels

February 3, 2014

The number of homes sitting empty across the country remains high. The year-round vacancy rate reached 10.2 percent of total housing units, the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau data shows.

In the fourth quarter, the national vacancy rate for rental housing was at 8.2 percent, while 2.1 percent for home-owner housing. Vacancy rates are highest in Detroit, Las Vegas, several Florida metros, and other Sunbelt markets.

The Census Bureau also reported the home ownership rate reached 65.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 – 0.2 percentage points lower than year-ago levels.

The home ownership rate is rising in the Midwest and South; both regions have home ownership rates above the national average. For example, the Midwest saw its home ownership rate grow the most, increasing by 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. That follows a 1.8 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Meanwhile, the West is seeing home ownership rates fall and the Northeast is seeing its home ownership rate fluctuate greatly from quarter to quarter.

Source: “America Still Has Plenty of Vacant Homes,” HousingWire (Jan. 31, 2014) and “U.S. Home Ownership Rate,” Economists’ Outlook blog (Jan. 31, 2014)

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