While foreclosures and vacancies are a problem throughout much of the United States, some states have been hit harder than others. New data from the Census Bureau shows Florida has the highest home vacancy rate in the country:
On Thursday, the Census Bureau revealed that 18% — or 1.6 million — of the Sunshine State’s homes are sitting vacant. That’s a rise of more than 63% over the past 10 years…
The vacancy problem is more dire in Florida than in any other bubble market: In California, only 8% of units were vacant, while Nevada, the state with the nation’s highest foreclosure rate, had about 14% sitting empty. Arizona had a vacancy rate of about 16%.
In Florida, the worst-hit county is Collier — home of Naples — with a whopping 32% of homes empty. In Sarasota County, 23% of the housing stock sits vacant, while Lee County (Cape Coral) has a 30% vacancy rate. And Miami-Dade County has a vacancy rate of about 12%.
The article goes on to say that the problem of vacancies has grown partly due to a slow-down in population growth in the state in the late 2000s. Additionally, the large number of vacancies has helped lower housing values: “The median price for homes sold in January was just $122,000, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. That was down 7% from 12 months earlier and less than half the price at the peak of the market.”
It would be interesting to see new or recent studies that look at how these vacancies impact community and neighborhood life. Beyond the economic impact, how does having a large percentage of empty houses effect interactions that people have with each other?
Also, how exactly are vacancy and foreclosure statistics related? Nevada has the highest level of foreclosures but a lower rate of vacancies – is this because more people have actually gone through the foreclosure process?
(If you want some insights into how the Census Bureau calculates different vacancy rates, see here. This would have been helpful information for an earlier discussion about seemingly different vacancy statistics.)