Local Vacancy Rates
As the housing market downturn persists, uncertainty about when it will turn around grows. A measure that could be used to judge trends in both the national and local real estate markets is the share of buildings that are vacant at a particular moment. National data on vacancies still shows major supply overhangs in both the for-sale and for-rent housing markets, suggesting that markets remain in a significant cyclical downturn. However, vacancy conditions vary considerably from area to area. There are several sources of data on local vacancy rates that can provide clues to assess stages and turning points in local markets.
To be most useful, vacancy rate data should be timely, localized, accurate, and target a specific type of building. It would also be helpful to have vacancy data over an extended period of time, to judge if a current vacancy rate is above or below its normal level. Home builders would like to know if residential vacancy rates are above or below their normal levels in a particular locality in order to judge whether it is time to ramp up production in that area. Sources of local vacancy rate data include the Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS), the American Community Survey (ACS), and the US Postal Service/HUD (USPS) data base. Each data source has its own strengths and weaknesses, but none perfectly meets all the criteria for an ideal source of vacancy data (see Table 1). Some of these data sources have been widely used for decades, and some of them have just recently become available. All are available to the general public on the internet.
Download the Full Report and Excel tables.
< Previous Article |
Next Article >
[ return to top ]