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Really Empty Nests

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on May 2, 2007

Consultant Bill Conerly tips us off on his Businomics blog to the growing number of homes sitting empty.

Vacancy rates for homes have bumped around 1.5% for two decades. But in the past year the vacancy rate has jumped to nearly 3%. Conerly figures that’s an extra 800,000 homes sitting empty. Couple that with the still abnormally-high number of apartment vacancies (700,000) and new housing starts (1.5 million) and he figures the country now has three million units of housing stock available, a roughly 7.5 year supply.

Reader Comments

Brandon W

May 3, 2007 8:32 AM

Do you mean a 7.5 MONTH supply???

Brandon W

May 3, 2007 8:40 AM

Wait... nevermind. I read the Businomics blog and that clarified where you're getting 7.5 years from. What you should say is: at current construction rates, we have a 7.5 year over-supply of housing to work off.

That's a lot.

I figure median home price needs to drop about 25% to get back to historical norms. More in some areas, less in others.


May 3, 2007 2:55 PM

They're collectibles. Just look how many Oprah owns.

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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