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The homeownership rate hit 63.7 percent during the third quarter, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This is 0.3 percent above the 63.4 percent level from the second quarter and 0.7 percent above the level recorded in the third quarter of 2014.
The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.9 percent during the third quarter, 0.1 percent higher on both a quarterly and year-over-year basis. The homeowner vacancy rate in the South (2.1 percent) was higher than those in the Midwest (1.7 percent) and West (1.5 percent) and nearly identical to the Northeast (2.0 percent). But the homeowner vacancy rate in the Northeast was higher than a year ago, while the rates in the other three sections of the country were not statistically different from last year’s rates. The homeowner vacancy rate was highest outside the major metro areas, compared to the rates inside principal cities (1.9 percent) and the suburbs (1.7 percent).
For the third quarter 2015, the rental vacancy rates were highest in the South (9.3 percent), followed by the Midwest (7.8 percent). The rates were lowest in the Northeast (5.6 percent) and West (5.2 percent), though these rates were not statistically different from each other. The rental vacancy rates in all four regions were not statistically different from the corresponding third quarter 2014 rates.
On the rental side, the national vacancy rates in the third quarter were 7.3 percent. Vacancy rates on rentals were highest outside major metro areas (9.2 percent), followed by principal cities (7.7 percent) and the suburbs (6.2 percent).
Approximately 87.1 percent of all U.S. housing units in the third quarter were occupied and 12.9 percent were vacant. Owner-occupied housing units made up 55.5 percent of total housing units, while renter-occupied units made up 31.6 percent; vacant year-round units comprised 9.7 percent of total housing units, with 3.2 percent set up for seasonal use. Vacant units that were intentionally kept off the market comprised 5.3 percent of the total housing stock.