HUD released on May 7 a report describing how the U.S. Housing Stock changed from 2005 to 2007; specifically, the loss and gain of housing units. For example, the report finds that 115,000 units that were occupied in 2005 had been become nonresidential units by 2007, an additional 152,000 were no longer usable for housing due to extensive damage, and 149,000 units were “lost” from 2005 to 2007 because they were either merged into other residential units or converted into multiple units. In addition to the 2.4 million units added through new construction by 2007, another new 114,000 homes had been nonresidential in 2005 and 48,000 had been considered structurally unsound.
Looking more closely at the characteristics of the changes, the report finds that units that were vacant in 2005 were four times more likely to be lost to the stock while those considered seasonal were three times more likely to be lost.
The report also found that 39% of the units with a severe electrical problem in 2005 had a similar problem in 2007. Other serious problems appear to be less persistent in part because homes that lacked plumbing facilities or hot water were 16 to 21 times more likely than the average unit to have been lost to the housing stock by 2007. Moderate problems were much more persistent in the stock, likely because the units were much more likely to remain in use. For example, 76% of houses with inconsistent heating in 2005 still reported the problem in 2007.
The report also offers some indication of the housing instability of people with low incomes. Only 16% of the units housing welfare recipients in 2005 were housing welfare recipients in 2007. Related to this, those receiving welfare in 2007 were much less likely to be living in new construction and were more than 6 times more likely to live in units that had been considered structurally deficient in 2005.
While 91% of owner-occupied housing in 2005 continued to be owner occupied in 2007, just 77% of the rental stock continued to be rental, perhaps an indicator of the rate of conversion of rentals to for-sale housing in this period. The loss rate of rental housing was over twice that of owner-occupied housing. Related to this, higher-cost housing and that occupied by higher income households had significantly lower loss rates than housing that was lower cost or occupied by lower income households. For example, a home with monthly costs of less than $350 was five times more likely to be lost than one with costs of $1,250 or more.
The biennial report, the Components of Inventory Change (CINCH), is based on the biennial American Housing Survey, which tracks many of the same units over time. CINCH is the only report to explicitly detail where additions to the nation’s housing stock come from and the characteristics and fate of the units that were lost. As with other reports, it also estimates net gains and losses and the contribution of new construction.
The CINCH report is available at www.huduser.org/Datasets/CINCh/cinch05-07.pdf