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U.S. Homeowner Vacancy Rates at Lowest Level Since 1981

U.S. Homeowner Vacancy Rates at Lowest Level Since 1981


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the national vacancy rates in the second quarter 2019 were 6.8 percent for rental housing and 1.3 percent for homeowner housing.

The rental vacancy rate of 6.8 percent was virtually unchanged from the rate in the second quarter 2018 and not statistically different from the rate in the first quarter 2019 (7.0 percent).

The homeowner vacancy rate of 1.3 percent was 0.2 percentage points lower than the rate in the second quarter 2018 (1.5 percent), but not statistically different from the rate in the first quarter 2019 (1.4 percent).

The homeownership rate of 64.1 percent was not statistically different from the rate in the second quarter 2018 (64.3 percent) nor from the rate in the first quarter 2019 (64.2 percent).

The Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni says, "The data from the second quarter Housing Vacancy Survey continue to show a lack of housing supply across the country. The homeowner vacancy rate, at 1.3 percent, is at its lowest level since 1981. The rental vacancy rate (at 6.8 percent) also remains quite low, but has leveled out over the past few quarters.

Given this lack of housing inventory, household formation remains constrained, with about 1.2 million new households formed over the past year, and the majority of those new households choosing to rent. As a result, the homeownership rate has dropped a bit to 64.1 percent.

Looking ahead, we expect that underlying housing demand will remain strong, given that the largest cohort of millennials are now in their mid-20s."

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