Vacant Homes

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					                                                                                       BUREAU OF THE CENSUS

Vacant Homes
In 1991, according to the
Current Population Survey/                     Breakdown of the Nation's Vacant
Housing Vacancy Survey (CPS/                   Housing Inventory: 1991
HVS), there were 12 million va                                                                   Seasonal vacant
cant housing units in the United                                                                 24%
States - in other words, about 1
of every 9 homes.                                                                                For rent
A housing unit is considered va
cant" if no one was living there
at the time of the survey. This                                                                  For sale
excludes any homes whose usual                                                                   9%
occupants were only temporarily
absent - on an extended vaca                                                                     Rented, not yet occupied
tion, for instance. But it includes
                                                                                                 Sold, not yet occupied
homes (intended for year round                                                                   3%
use) whose sole occupants were                                                                   For occasional use
persons who usually live else                                                                    12%
where.                                                                                           Temporarily occupied by persons
                                                                                                 with usual residence elsewhere
This Brief examines some of the                                                                  9%
characteristics of vacant units and                                                              Vacant for other reasons
how they've changed between
                                               Note: Do not add due to rounding. Yearly totals in this
1989 and 1991 in each region                         Brief represent the monthly average for the year.
and the Nation as a whole.

Many vacant homes are                     are a few examples. The sea                       There were a variety of reasons
intended only for seasonal use.           sonal vacant" category also in                     vacant units were held off the
In 1991, there were 2.9 million           cludes units held for occupancy                    market. Some were being tem
vacant housing units intended for         by migrant workers employed on                     porarily occupied by persons
use only during certain seasons           farms during the crop season.                      whose usual residence was else
(see chart). Many of these units          One was most likely to find                        where. Others were used only
were in resort areas - beach              seasonal vacant homes in the                       from time to time (but not sea
homes and condos at ski resorts           Northeast, where they constituted                  sonally) by the owner. Still others
                                          4.0 percent of the entire housing                  had already been rented or sold
                                          inventory. The figures for the oth                 to someone, but the occupants
                                          er regions were lower: 2.5 per                     hadn't moved in yet. Finally,
                                          cent in the Midwest and South                      some were vacant for other rea
                                          and 1.9 percent in the West.                       sons, such as pending the settle
                                                                                             ment of an estate.
                                          The remaining 9.1 million vacant
                                          units were intended for year                       Percentage of year round
                                          round use. Of these:                               vacant units on the decline.
                                          D   Some were on the market,                       Between 1989 and 1991, the
                                              either for rent (2.8 million)                  Nation's percentage of vacant
SB/93 4                                       or for sale (1.1 million).                     units intended for year round use
Issued April 1993                                                                            dropped from 8.8 to 8.5 percent.
U.S. Department of Commerce
                                          D   However, over half - 5.3                       One was more likely to find these
                                              million - were not on the
Economics and Statistics Administration                                                      units in the South, where they
BUREAU OF THE CENSUS                          market.
                                                                                             comprised 10.7 percent of all
BUREAU OF THE CENSUS                        STATISTICAL BRIEF                                             April 1993

homes in 1991. In contrast, the
figures were 8.1 percent in the
                                          Median Asking Rent for Vacant
West and 7.0 percent in the                                                                          1989
                                          Year Round Units: 1989 and 1991
Northeast and Midwest.                    (Constant 1991 dollars)                                    1991
The South also had a higher
percentage of year round vacant                                                                          $523
units being held off the market-                        $493 $498                                 $483
5.9 percent of all its housing
units. The West's percentage, 3.9
percent, was higher than that of          $377
the Midwest and Northeast,                                                 $339          $347
which had about the same per
centage of units held off market-
3.4 percent and 3.2 percent,

Many vacant rental units are
not in apartment buildings.
When many people think of
vacant rental units, they think
of apartment buildings. However,             U.S.       Northeast   Midwest        South            West
about 1 in 5 vacant (year round)
for rent units were found not in
apartment buildings, but rather
were one unit structures. Of all
the vacant (year round) units on
the rental market, 14 percent
                                     a year or more: 30 percent in          puter tape, CD ROM, and in
were single family homes and
                                     1989 and 42 percent in 1991. The       printed reports. Contact
4 percent were mobile homes.
                                     1991 figures for the other regions     Customer Services
Conversely, vacant for sale units    were 24 percent in the West, 32        (301 763 4100) for
were not necessarily single family   percent in the Midwest, and 36         ordering information.
homes: 24 percent were located       percent in the South. There were
in multiunit buildings and 8 per     no statistical changes during the      Contacts:
cent were mobile homes.              1989-1991 period in these three        Vacant Homes-
                                     regions.                               Wallace Fraser
Number of vacant homes
for rent rises rapidly in the                                               301 763 8552
                                     Vacant homes for sale are most
Northeast.                           expensive in the Northeast and         Statistical Briefs-
Between 1989 and 1991, the           West.                                  Robert Bernstein
number of vacant (year round)        In 1991, vacant (year round)           301 763 1584
units for rent in the Northeast      homes for sale in the Northeast
climbed 48 percent. Conversely,                                             This Brief is one of a series that
                                     and West were more likely than         presents information of current
the South experienced a decline      those in the other two regions to
of 8 percent. Neither the Midwest                                           policy interest. It may include data
                                     have an asking price of $100,000       from businesses, households, or
nor West showed a statistically      or more: approximately 50 per
significant change.                                                         other sources. All statistics are
                                     cent each. The Midwest and             subject to sampling variablility,
The number of vacant homes for       South trailed, at approximately        as well as survey design flaws, re
sale in the four regions remained    23 percent each.                       spondent classification errors, and
essentially unchanged during the     More information:                      data processing mistakes. The
1989-1991 period.                    Housing Vacancies and Home             Census Bureau has taken steps to
                                     ownership, Annual Statistics 1991,     minimize errors, and analytical
Vacant homes for sale in the         Current Housing Reports, Series        statements have been tested and
Northeast are staying on the         H111/91A. Information from the         meet statistical standards. How
market longer.                                                              ever, because of methodological
                                     1990 Census on vacant units for
In the Northeast, more and more      geographic entities down to the        differences, use caution when
vacant (year round) homes for        block group level is available from    comparing these data with data
sale have been on the market for     Summary Tape File 3 on com             from other sources.