Tags: census | empty | houses

One in Nine Houses Now Empty

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Feb 2009 11:45 AM

Empty housing units across the country now number approximately 14 million or more, an astounding one in nine homes, according to new census figures.

This glut of inventory, a consequence of the boom and eventual bust in housing, is delaying a housing recovery, says Nicolas Retsinas, head of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, quoted in USA Today.

These millions of unoccupied houses, condos, and apartments create massive problems for the localities in which they're situated, such as a declining tax base amid rising service costs and worsening crime issues.

"A house that is vacant is often a house that is less well kept up," Retsinas points out.

The vacancy epidemic seems to be spreading. Once it was confined mainly to cities with poor neighborhoods. Now, however, vacancy rates are burgeoning in the suburbs and in new developments nationwide.

Suburbs such as Henderson, Nev., outside of Las Vegas, and Mesa, Ariz., near Phoenix, are among the communities suffering from the problem, Retsinas says.

President Barack Obama, selling his stimulus plan, visited Fort Myers, Fla., in Lee County, where 12.5 percent of homes are now in foreclosure and county unemployment has hit double digits.

Although some $2 billion has been allocated from the stimulus bill to help affected communities buy empty units and repair them for habitation, foreclosures continue and the funding seems hardly adequate, considering the numbers.

The realtors remain eternally optimistic, though.

"Buyers are now coming back into those hard-hit markets to take advantage," Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors' association, said in The Wall Street Journal.

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Empty housing units across the country now number approximately 14 million or more, an astounding one in nine homes, according to new census figures.This glut of inventory, a consequence of the boom and eventual bust in housing, is delaying a housing recovery, says Nicolas...
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Tuesday, 17 Feb 2009 11:45 AM
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