Vacancy Rate in the US

Which parts of the US have the largest percentage of unoccupied homes?


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Map showing the vacancy rate at the county level in the United States.

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Vacancy rate is an interesting statistic. It tells us what percentage of housing units in an area at a given moment are unoccupied. A high vacancy rate is of course undesirable. The supply of housing units is too high and the demand too low. Often the high vacancy rate is caused by the area not being attractive any more for people to live in. Quite often because there aren’t enough jobs and people try to find their luck elsewhere. Most of the time, the vacancy rate tells a much bigger story than that. A different one for each area.

The highest vacancy rates can be found in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Missouri, Alabama and New Mexico. Loving County in Texas has the highest vacancy rate (42.4%). Alexander County in Illinois is the only other county in the US with a vacancy rate over 40% (41.2%).

A very low vacancy rate isn’t necessarily a good thing. If it’s too low, it means there are not enough homes available. Making it difficult for people to find a house and sometimes it even drives up the housing prices.

The lowest vacancy rates can be found mainly in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, California and Michigan. Summit County in Colorado has the lowest vacancy rate in the US (2.2%). Elbert County Colorado and Valley County Idaho (2.3%) have the 2nd lowest vacancy rate.

The data on this map comes from Census.gov. A housing unit is defined as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms or a single room that is occupied (or, if vacant, intended for occupancy) as separate living quarters. The data includes the following types of vacancy: For rent, rented (not occupied), for sale, sold (not occupied) and other vacant. Housing units that are temporarily vacant/occupied (i.e., For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use or for migrant workers) are not included in the vacancy rate.

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