The total inventory of vacant homes increased about 8 percent in the third quarter compared to the same quarter last year, while the home-ownership rate remained unchanged in the third quarter after three consecutive quarterly declines, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.
The home-ownership rate for the third quarter stood at 68.2 percent, which compares with 69 percent in third-quarter 2006.
Regionally, the home-ownership rate was 71.9 percent in the Midwest in the third quarter, 70.1 percent in the South, 63.5 percent in the West, and 65.2 percent in the Northeast in the third quarter — that rate dropped in every region compared to the same quarter in 2006.
The home-ownership rate declined for all but one age bracket tracked by the Census Bureau: the rate rose from 80.7 percent in third-quarter 2006 to 81.1 percent in third-quarter 2007 among those ages 55-64, according to the report.
The rate of home ownership among Hispanic households increased from 49.7 percent in third-quarter 2006 to 50.1 percent in third-quarter 2007 while falling in all other race and ethnicity categories tracked by the Census Bureau.
The seasonally adjusted U.S. home-ownership rate was 68.1 percent in the third quarter, compared with 68.9 percent in third-quarter 2006 and 68.3 percent in second-quarter 2007.
The total inventory of U.S. housing units climbed from 126.2 million in third-quarter 2006 to 128.2 million in third-quarter 2007, a 1.6 percent gain.
Meanwhile, the total inventory of vacant housing units grew from an estimated 16.6 million in third-quarter 2006 to 17.9 million in third-quarter 2007, a gain of 7.8 percent, according to Census Bureau estimates.
The vacant-home inventory accounted for about 14 percent of the total housing inventory in the third quarter.
The for-sale vacant inventory grew 7.2 percent, from an estimated 1.9 million in third-quarter 2006 to 2.1 million in third-quarter 2007.
And the for-rent inventory grew 1.5 percent, from an estimated 1.9 million in third-quarter 2006 to 2.1 million in third-quarter 2007.
The number of occupied housing units grew 0.6 percent, from about 109.6 million in third-quarter 2006 to 110.3 million in third-quarter 2007.
The number of owner-occupied units declined an estimated 0.6 percent, from 75.6 million to 75.2 million, while the number of renter-occupied units increased about 3.3 percent, from 34 million in third-quarter 2006 to 35.1 million in third-quarter 2007.
The Census Bureau reported that the national vacancy rental vacancy rate in the third quarter was 9.8 percent for rental housing, which compares with 9.5 percent in the second quarter and 9.9 percent for third-quarter 2006. The third-quarter vacancy rate for homeowner housing was estimated at 2.7 percent, which compares with 2.6 percent in the second quarter and 2.5 percent in third-quarter 2006.
Estimates, the Census Bureau noted, are based on responses from a sample of the population “and may differ from actual values because of sampling variability or other factors.”
For rental housing by area, the third-quarter vacancy rate was 10.2 percent inside principal cities, 9.3 percent in the suburbs, and 9.4 percent outside metropolitan statistical areas, though the differences in these numbers are not considered statistically significant. “When compared to a year ago, the rates by area were also not statistically different from their corresponding rates,” the Census Bureau reported.
The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.2 percent in principal cities, 2.4 percent in the suburbs, and outside metro areas was 2.6 percent. “When compared to a year ago, the homeowner vacancy rates in the suburbs and outside (metro areas) were higher respectively, while the rate inside principal cities was not statistically different,” according to the report.
Regionally, the rental vacancy rates for third-quarter 2007 were highest in the South at 12.1 percent and lowest in the West at 6.8 percent. And regional homeowner vacancy rates were lowest in the Northeast at 2 percent and highest in the South at 3.1 percent.