US Owner and Rental Vacancy Rates Reach Lowest Levels in Decades

According to the National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) analysis of the 2021 American Community Survey (ACS), the owner vacancy rate fell below 0.9% and rental vacancy rates reached a new low of 5.2%. These are the lowest levels recorded by the ACS since the survey started generating this data in 2005, which reflects the unparalleled housing shortage across the US in the post-pandemic market.

When comparing the uncharacteristically low vacancy rates with long-run typical rates across metropolitan markets in the US, the NAHB now estimates that it will require 1.5 million units to close the gap and bring the current vacancy rates back to the long-run equilibrium levels. The NAHB is forecasting that it will take until 2025–2030 to accomplish this.

The NAHB analysis of the ACS data further notes that homeowner and rental vacancy rates are one of the key statistics that are used to judge the health and direction of the housing market. The current low homeowner and rental vacancy rates are typically interpreted as an indicator of a tight housing market, with abnormally low vacancy rates signaling a greater housing shortage.

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