How Many Vacant Homes on the Sales Market? A Lot, Say Feds

Speculators and new construction have driven the national homeowner vacancy rate to its highest level ever, according to the Census Bureau.

The rate that measures how many vacant homes are on the sales market hit 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, up from 2.0 percent a year earlier. Last year marked the first time the rate went above 2.0 percent. The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported that the spike was due partly to speculators trying to cash out of the housing market and partly to new construction that will have to slow for the vacancy rate to ebb.

The Real Estate couldn’t find the homeownership rate for New York State or New York City. If anyone knows if such info exists–and where it can be found–please email. (The Census Bureau pegged the Northeast’s rate at 2.0 percent.)

Here’s the Census Bureau’s release (PDF).

– Tom Acitelli