Housing Vacancy Rates Finally Drop back to Pre-2006 Levels

Friday, February 22, 2013

The U.S. housing market is looking up these days as fewer homes and apartments sit vacant. In fact, vacancy rates for residential housing have dropped to their lowest levels since before 2006, when the housing boom was still going strong, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


During the last quarter of 2012, the vacancy rate for homes was 1.9%, and 8.7% for the rental housing market.


To compare, the vacancy rate for homes reached a high of 2.9% in 2008, while the rate for rentals peaked at 11.1% in 2009. On an annual basis, the rental vacancy rate is the lowest since 2001.


The census numbers “add to other indications of rising strength in the U.S. housing market–from rising home prices to home-builder enthusiasm and investor activity,” wrote Mark Trumball of The Christian Science Monitor.


Low interest rates and a shrinking supply of homes for purchase have been credited for helping boost the housing market, as has the reduced level of new housing construction.


At the state level, the vacancy rates in Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, and Ohio—states that were hard hit by housing busts—have experienced declines of half a percentage point or more during the past year.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Fewer Boarded-Up Homes: Vacancy Rate For US Housing Falls To Pre-Bust Levels (by Mark Trumball, Christian Science Monitor)

Residential Vacancies and Homeownership in the Fourth Quarter 2012 (U.S. Census Bureau) (pdf)

Table 1.  Quarterly Rental Vacancy Rates: 1956 to Present (U.S. Census Bureau) (pdf)

Table 2.  Quarterly Homeowner Vacancy Rates: 1956 to Present (U.S. Census Bureau) (pdf)


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