30 American Ghost Towns
In the wake of the ongoing housing recovery, a new problem has arisen: a shortage of homes for sale. But while this might be the problem in most of the country’s stable housing markets, some neighborhoods and cities suffer from a completely different problem: too many vacant homes.
There are nearly 1.4 million vacant residential properties across the country — abandoned, not for sale, mostly unoccupied homes. With vacant properties comprising as much as 30% of residential properties, some neighborhoods are starting to feel like ghost towns.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 30 highest vacancy rates in U.S. ZIP codes from housing market data company Attom Data Solutions. These 30 neighborhoods are contained within 20 metropolitan areas. Many have not participated in the nation’s economic recovery — areas that continue to experience the economic malaise of the Great Recession. They are characterized by shrinking populations, jobs loss, low home values, and underwater mortgages.
In an email to 24/7 Wall St., Attom senior vice president Daren Blomquist noted that to reach vacancy rates of 20% to 30%, an area usually needs to have endured long periods of poor economic conditions that lead to population decline.