The Census Bureau just released Q4 data on homeownership and home vacancy rates
. The nationwide homeownership
rate ticked down to 68.9% from 69% in both Q3 2006 and Q4 2005. Not a big deal, frankly.
What IS a big deal, however, is the ongoing spike in the vacancy rate. A whopping 2.7% of all U.S. homes were vacant as of Q4. That's up from 2.5% in Q3 2006 and 2% in Q4 2005. Moreover, it's the highest vacancy rate in U.S. history (the data goes back to 1960).
The homeowner vacancy rate is the proportion of the homeowner inventory that is vacant for sale. The fact so many homes are sitting empty is a testament to the fact that we overbuilt like crazy during the boom.