Among the huge amount of information issued by the U.S. Census Bureau is “Housing Vacancies and Homeownership” in America’s 75 largest markets by population. The numbers are issued quarterly. Vacancies vary widely from city to city, but several cities stand out because of a substantial number of vacancies compared to other urban areas.
Private sector companies use the data to decide where to build both homes and apartment complexes. The federal government uses it as a means to determine the financial health of geographic areas and to determine wider economic trends in these markets. The information covers both rental units and single-family homes. The figures are broken out by age and race, among other metrics.
When the Census Bureau released the data for the first quarter of 2021, it posted the national trend: “National vacancy rates in the first quarter 2021 were 6.8 percent for rental housing and 0.9 percent for homeowner housing.” Homeownership nationwide was 65.6%.
One city had a homeowner vacancy rate several times the national number of 0.9%. Cape Coral-Ft. Myers, Florida, had a rate of 4.3%. Only two other markets were above 2%. These were Fresno, California, at 2.3% and Little Rock, Arkansas, at 2.5%. The lowest rate, at 0.1%, was in Omaha, Nebraska. A look at the four quarters of 2020 shows that the Cape Coral-Ft. Myers figure was high across 2020 as well.