There are nearly 1.5 million vacant homes in the United States, or 1.5% of all homes, according to a new report from real estate data company ATTOM Data Solutions. While this represents a slight improvement from the previous year’s vacancy rate of 1.6%, certain pockets of the country have so many empty homes they can feel like ghost towns.
There are neighborhoods with exceptionally high vacancy rates across the United States — from pricey coastal communities like Belleair Beach in Florida, to impoverished communities in Rust Belt cities like Youngstown, Ohio.
While areas like these share near nation-leading vacancy rates, the similarities stop there.
In inner-city neighborhoods in parts of the Midwest and mid-Atlantic, depressed housing markets and widespread poverty have contributed to long-term population decline. In these areas, many homes are effectively abandoned.
Meanwhile, in wealthier beach communities, many homes are only used seasonally by the owners or as rental properties for vacationers, and vacancy rates in these areas fluctuate throughout the year.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the share of single family homes that were unoccupied as of the end of the third quarter in 2018 to identify the 30 ZIP codes with the highest vacancy rates — America’s ghost towns. Vacancy rates in these areas, which were calculated by ATTOM Data Solutions at the ZIP code level using tax assessor data, range from 16.2% to 31.4%.