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homeowner_vacancyNational vacancy rates in the first quarter 2015 were 7.1 percent for rental housing and 1.9 percent for homeowner housing, the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau announced recently. The rental vacancy rate of 7.1 percent was 1.2 percentage points (+/-0.4) lower than the rate in the first quarter 2014 and 0.1 percentage point (+/-0.3) higher than the rate last quarter. The homeowner vacancy rate of 1.9 percent was 0.1 percentage point(+/-0.2) lower than the rate in the first quarter 2014and approximately the same as the rate last quarter (+/-0.1). The homeownership rate of 63.7 percent was 1.1percentage points (+/-0.4) lower than the first quarter 2014 rate (64.8 percent) and 0.3 percentage points(+/-0.4) lower than the rate last quarter (64.0percent).

In the first quarter 2015, the median asking sales price for vacant for sale units was $149,500. For rental housing by area, the first quarter 2015 vacancy rates were highest outside Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) (9.0 percent), followed by principal cities (7.3 percent) and the suburbs (6.5 percent). The rental vacancy rates inside principal cities and in the suburbs were lower than the first quarter 2014 rates, while the rate outside MSAs was not statistically different from a year ago. The homeowner vacancy rates were highest outside MSAs (2.5 percent), followed by principal cities (2.0 percent) and the suburbs (1.6 percent).

The homeowner vacancy rates inside principal cities, in the suburbs and outside MSAs were not statistically different from the rates last year. For the first quarter 2015, the rental vacancy rate was highest in the South (8.8 percent), followed by the Midwest (7.8 percent). The rates were lowest in the Northeast (5.4 percent) and West (5.3 percent), though these rates were not statistically different from each other. The rental vacancy rates in the Northeast, South and West were lower than the rates one year ago, while the rate in the Midwest was not statistically different from the corresponding first quarter 2014 rate. The homeowner vacancy rate was highest in the South (2.2 percent) and lowest in the West (1.2 percent). The rates in the Northeast (1.8 percent) and Midwest (1.9 percent) were not statistically different from each other. The homeowner vacancy rate in the West was lower than the first quarter 2014 rate, while the rates in the Northeast, Midwest and South were not statistically different from the rates last year.

Approximately 87.0 percent of the housing units in the United States in the first quarter 2015 were occupied and 13.0 percent were vacant. Owner-occupied housing units made up 55.4 percent of total housing units, while renter-occupied units made up 31.6 percent of the inventory in the first quarter 2015. Vacant yearround units comprised 9.6 percent of total housing units, while 3.4 percent were for seasonal use. Approximately 2.5 percent of the total units were for rent, 1.1 percent were for sale only, and 0.7 percent were rented or sold but not yet occupied. Vacant units that were held off market comprised 5.4 percent of the total housing stock. Of these units, 1.4 percent were for occasional use, 1.1 percent were temporarily occupied by persons with usual residence elsewhere (URE), and 2.9 percent were vacant for a variety of other reasons.

The homeownership rate of 63.7 percent was 1.1 percentage points (+/-0.4) lower than the first quarter 2014 rate (64.8 percent) and 0.3 percentage points (+/-0.4) lower than the rate last quarter (64.0 percent).

For the first quarter 2015, the homeownership rates were highest in the Midwest (68.6 percent) and lowest in the West (58.5 percent). The homeownership rates in the Northeast, South and West were lower than the rates in the first quarter 2014, while the rate in the Midwest was not statistically different from the rate a year ago.

For the first quarter 2015, the homeownership rates were highest for those householders ages 65 years and over (79.0 percent) and lowest for the under 35 years of age group (34.6 percent). The rates for householders under 35, 35 to 44, 45 to 54 and 65 years and over were lower than the first quarter 2014 rates, while the rate for householders 55 to 64 was not statistically different from the rate a year ago.

The homeownership rate for the first quarter 2015 for non-Hispanic White householders reporting a single race was highest at 72.0 percent. The rate for All Other Races householders was second at 55.4 percent and Black Alone householders was lowest at 41.9 percent. The homeownership rates for non-Hispanic White and Black Alone householders were lower than the first quarter 2014 rates, while the rate for All Other Race householders was not statistically different from the rate last year. The homeownership rate for Hispanic householders (who can be of any race), 44.1 percent, was lower than the first quarter 2014 rate.

The homeownership rate for households with family incomes greater than or equal to the median family income was lower than the first quarter 2014 rate. The rate for those households with family incomes less than the median family income was also lower than the rate last year.

For an explanation of the methodology used in producing the housing inventory independent estimates, visit http://www.census.gov/popest/methodology.

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