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Homeowner Vacancy Rates Vary Across Top Metros

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vacant_homeIn a recent study, NAHB examines eight key housing statistics from the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS). This post takes a closer look at one of those statistics; the homeowner vacancy rate.

The homeowner vacancy is calculated by taking the total number of vacant units intended for owner-occupancy divided by the total number of owner-occupied units. A low vacancy rate indicates a tight housing market where demand for owner-occupied units is high relative to supply.

The metropolitan area with the lowest homeowner vacancy rate in 2012 is Bismarck, ND with a rate of 0.2 percent. The metro area is a new entrant to the top ten due in large part to the state’s ongoing energy boom. The figure is well below the national homeowner vacancy rate of 2.0 percent.

There is considerable churn in the list from year-to-year as local economic conditions shift. Alexandria, LA is the only metropolitan area to appear in both the 2010 and 2012 lists.

Eight of the ten metropolitan areas in the list have fewer than 100,000 owner-occupied housing units. This suggests it may also be useful to examine metropolitan areas with more housing units.

The tightest metropolitan area with at least 500,000 owner-occupied housing units is the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA metro division with a rate of 1.1 percent. Again, there is considerable churn in the list from the prior report. In the prior report, for example, Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA had a homeowner vacancy rate of 2.5 percent and did not make the top ten.

View this original article on the NAHB blog, Eye on Housing.

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