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Rental Vacancy Rates Fall, But Census Cautions On Data Collected During Pandemic

Rental Vacancy Rates Fall, But Census Cautions On Data Collected During Pandemic

National vacancy rates in the second quarter of 2020 were 5.7% for rental housing and 0.9% for homeowners, the U.S. Census Bureau said Tuesday.

What Happened: In the second quarter, 90.1% of homes in the U.S. were occupied, with 61.2% of these homes being owner-occupied.

The median asking price for vacant homes was $205,600, a dip from the previous quarter. The median price for a vacant rental unit was $1,033.

The rental vacancy rate of 5.7% was 1.1% lower than in the second quarter of 2019 (6.8%) and 0.9% lower than the rate in the first quarter of 2020 (6.6%). 

Why It’s Important: Both homeowner and rental vacancy rates have been declining since 2008. Both reported numbers represent lows in recent years for the same time frame. 

Looking deeper into the demographics of the reported numbers, the second-quarter homeownership rate was highest for those ages 65 and up (80.4%) and lowest for those householders under 35 (40.6%).

Compared to the second quarter of 2019, home ownership rates have increased across all age groups.

When looking at race and home ownership, rates for home ownership across all racial groups was higher on a year-over-year basis.

The Census Bureau did note in the report that the surveying techniques used to collect the data were altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agency did account for seasonality and margin of error, but cautioned against comparing the data to previous quarters. 

Benzinga’s Take: Eviction moratoriums are protecting those most affected by the economic downturn. Expect these numbers to increase if these moratiums are lifted without any protections for renters.

Many lenders have been offering to work out payment plans with homeowners to prevent them from losing their homes.


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