Econintersect: We are surrounded by numbers – and most of them not significant. The good news, before you are blinded by the math is that home occupancy increased faster then the population growth in 2010 – for the first time since 2006. (population growth 0.81%, occupancy growth 0.97%)
Mathematically the vacancy rate declined in 2010 over 2009. There are over 130 million homes (housing units) in the USA – there were 656,000 units added in 2010, while 1,081,000 more were occupied YoY.
This is according to the US Census report RESIDENTIAL VACANCIES AND HOMEOWNERSHIP IN THE FOURTH QUARTER 2010. The headlines in part:
National vacancy rates in the fourth quarter 2010 were 9.4 percent for rental housing and 2.7 percent for homeowner housing, the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau announced today. The rental vacancy rate of 9.4 percent was 1.3 percentage points lower than the rate recorded in the fourth quarter 2009 (+/-0.5 percentage points) and 0.9 percentage points lower than last quarter (+/-0.4). The homeowner vacancy rate of 2.7 percent was approximately the same as the fourth quarter 2009 rate (+/-0.2)* and 0.2 percentage points higher (+/-0.2) than the rate last quarter (2.5 percent).
The homeownership rate of 66.5 percent was 0.7 percentage points (+/-0.4%) lower than the fourth quarter 2009 rate (67.2 percent) and 0.4 percentage points (+/-0.4%) lower than the rate last quarter (66.9 percent).
Cutting to the chase – there was an obvious improvement with the occupancy rate improving from 85.5% in 2009 to85.9% in 2010. The year over year improvement was 0.4.