Housing Vacancy Survey data for the second quarter of 2010 indicates that the housing and economic crisis is continuing, ultimately increasing both vacancies and the number of renters nationwide.
While the proportion of all housing that was vacant and marked as for sale (3.4%) or rent (1.5%) remained unchanged from the second quarter of 2009, vacant units characterized as “other units held off market” increased from 2.7% to 2.9% during this time. This category likely captures foreclosed homes and thus, largely accounts for the increasing overall vacancy rate from 14.3% to 14.4% over the past year.
The official for-sale and for rent vacancy rates, which compare vacancies to the units currently occupied by renters or owners plus those vacant and for sale or for rent, stood at 2.5% and 10.6%, also relatively unchanged. Nationwide, the vacancy rates for both rental and for-sale housing have declined in principle cities since the second quarter of 2009. However, the reverse is true for suburban areas where both rental and homeowner vacancies increased from their 2009 rates. While this change was not statistically significant, it may become a significant trend if the number of foreclosures continues to rise and vacancies continue to grow.
Significant changes were reported in the number of rental and homeowner occupied units from 2009 to 2010. The proportion of renter households (33.1%) increased by .5% and the number of renter households grew by 825,000 from the second quarter of 2009. The overall homeownership rate in the second quarter of 2010 was 66.9%, a .2% decrease from the previous quarter and a .5% decrease from the second quarter of 2009. This follows a gradual decrease in national homeownership rates that began in the third quarter of 2009. Regionally, over the past year, the greatest decreases in homeownership rates were experienced in the South and West (.9%). This is likely due to the concentration of foreclosures in these regions.
Homeownership and renter rates also greatly vary by race and ethnicity of households. White households continue to have a homeownership rate (74.4%) significantly above the national average of 66.9% while Blacks (46.2%) and Hispanics (47.8%) continue to have rates significantly below the national average. However, no group has escaped the housing crisis as all racial groups have experienced declining homeownership rates since the second quarter of 2009.
Data from the most recent and past Housing Vacancy Surveys, a component of the Current Population Survey, can be found at: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/hvs/hvs.html.