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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 11% - 18.4M to be exact - of U.S. homes are vacant
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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

11% - 18.4M to be exact - of U.S. homes are vacant

damn...! that's a LOT of empty houses...!
Of the nearly 131 million housing units in this country, 112.5 million are occupied. 74.8 million are owned, and that's only dropped by about 30 thousand in the past year. 38 million are rented, but that's up by over a million year over year. That means more new households are choosing to rent.

Now to vacancies. There were 18.4 million vacant homes in the U.S. in Q4 '10 (11 percent of all housing units vacant all year round), which is actually an improvement of 427,000 from a year ago, but not for the reasons you'd think.

The number of vacant homes for rent fell by 493 thousand, as rental demand rose. 471,000 homes are listed as "Held off Market" about half for temporary use, but the other half are likely foreclosures. And no, the shadow inventory isn't just 200,000, it's far higher than that.

So think about it. Eleven percent of the houses in America are empty. This as builders start to get more bullish, and renting apartments becomes ever more popular. Vacancies in the apartment sector have been falling steadily and dramatically, why? Because we're still recovering emotionally from the toll of the housing crash.

Younger Americans have seen what home ownership has done to their friends and families, and many want no part of it. Credit has become very nearly elitist. Home prices, whatever your particular data provider preference might be, are still falling.

i've owned three houses in my life and i can say with absolute certainty that i would never do it again... for one thing, i have no desire to be burdened by a place that i have to maintain, i have no desire to be anchored to one place, particularly one that would sit vacant for half the year at least, and i have zero desire to take on debt of any sort, particularly the long-term mortgage variety... what's more, i've seen that, in most places in the world outside the u.s., owning a home is simply not de rigueur... plus, on top of all that, now that i'm reaping the wisdom of age, i'm seeing just how much mortgage debt is used as a tool of economic enslavement...

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