Near Record Home Vacancies in US

This is an astonishing datapoint:

“There were 18.7 million vacant homes in the U.S. during the second quarter as the steepest recession in 50 years sapped demand for real estate and banks seized properties from delinquent borrowers.

The number of vacant properties, including foreclosures, residences for sale and vacation homes, was little changed from 18.6 million a year earlier, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report today. Households that own their own residence stood at 67.3 percent, seasonally adjusted.

Home values dropped 33 percent since 2006, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, and the unemployment rate in June rose to the highest in almost 26 years. Tumbling home prices and rising job losses have thwarted government efforts to reverse the housing decline at the heart of the longest U.S. recession since the 1930s.”

Note that the recent record in April of this year was 19.2 million in April 2009.

As Peter Boockvar points out, Commerce just released Q2 Home Ownership rates. Its now at 67.4%, way off the record high of 69.2% in the last quarter of 2004. For comparison’s sake, in 1965 the rate was 65.3%.

For those people looking for a bounce back, we may still be reverting back towards the long term mean.

With little or no pent up demand for housing, it’s hard to see how vacancies or ownership point are a bottom stat . . .

[Note: I updated the headline to reflect the higher Q1 data released in April  ’09]


U.S. Home Vacancies Hit 18.7 Million on Bank Seizures
Kathleen M. Howley
Bloomberg, July 24 2009


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