U.S. Housing and Vacancy Rate at or Near Historical Lows, Census Bureau Reports

According to the recently released U.S. Census Bureau Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS), the U.S. housing and vacancy rate, for both homeowners and rental housing, are at or near historical lows. The HVS reports that both rental and homeowner vacancy rates decreased between 2009 and 2019, as the U.S. recovered from the foreclosure crisis. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic further tightened supplies.

The HVS is reporting that vacancy rates for rental housing are lower than at any point during the 35-year period from 1985 until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. The vacancy rate for homeowner housing is lower than at any point from 1980 until early 2020.

The homeowner vacancy rate in the first quarter of 2022 was 0.8%. This is the first time in the 66-year history of the HVS that the homeowner vacancy rate has been as low as 0.8%. Although not statistically different from previous lows of 0.9% (which occurred prior to 1980 and in 2020-2021 during the pandemic), it is lower than at any point during the 40-year period from 1980 until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

The HVS notes that prior to the pandemic, the quarterly homeowner vacancy rate estimate dipped to 0.9% only seven times in six years (1978, 1973, 1972, 1971, 1957, and 1956).

In Q1 of 2022, the rental vacancy rate was 5.8%, which is higher than the historical low of 5.0% recorded prior to 1985. However, it was the lower than the quarterly rental vacancy rate estimate at any point during the 35-year period from 1985 through 2019.

Taken together, the homeowner and rental vacancy rate estimates for Q1 of 2022 indicate that housing availability was extremely low by historical standards.

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Original Source:
Homeowner and Rental Vacancy Rates Declined During COVID-19 Pandemic