1.6% of U.S. homes vacant – in Fla., it’s 2.3%
IRVINE, Calif. – Feb. 11, 2016 — RealtyTrac's just-released Q1 2016 U.S. Residential Property Vacancy Analysis finds that Florida has a higher vacancy and foreclosure rate than the rest of the U.S., but the numbers continue to drop.
Nationwide, more than 1.3 million (1.6 percent) homes were vacant at the beginning of February, but that's down 9.3 percent from the third quarter of 2015. In Florida, 154,179 homes were vacant, or 11.9 percent of the nation's total.
However, RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist says that vacant homes don't present a problem in most areas of the country.
"With several notable exceptions, the challenge facing most U.S. real estate markets is not too many vacant homes but too few," says Blomquist. "The razor-thin vacancy rates in many markets are placing upward pressure on home prices and rents. While that may be good news for sellers and landlords, it is bad news for buyers and renters and could be bad news for all if prices and rents are inflated above tolerable affordability thresholds."
Among 147 metropolitan statistical areas with at least 100,000 residential properties, those with the highest share of vacant properties were Flint, Michigan (7.5 percent); Detroit (5.3 percent); Youngstown, Ohio (4.4 percent); Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas (3.8 percent); and Atlantic City, New Jersey (3.7 percent).
Other major metro areas with vacancy rates above the national average included Indianapolis (3.0 percent), Tampa (2.9 percent), Miami (2.8 percent), Cleveland (2.8 percent) and St. Louis (2.6 percent).
Metro areas with the lowest share of vacant properties were San Jose, California (0.2 percent), Fort Collins, Colorado (0.2 percent), Manchester, New Hampshire (0.3 percent), Provo, Utah (0.3 percent), Lancaster, Pennsylvania (0.3 percent), and San Francisco (0.3 percent).
Investment properties accounted for 76.7 percent of all vacant properties nationwide.
Properties in the foreclosure process accounted for 1.5 percent of all vacant properties nationwide, but the number of "zombie" foreclosures was down 4 percent year-to-year.
Florida's vacant home overview
Statewide, 74.8 percent of vacant Florida properties have at least some equity built up, while 7.8 percent are "seriously underwater" – ones with a mortgage loan amount at least 25 percent higher than the property's estimated market value.
Overall, the state has a 2.3 percent home vacancy rate; 1.8 percent of those vacant properties are in foreclosure and 39.0 percent have an open loan.
Vacant homes by Florida metro area