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Vacancy Rates Inch Upward

for-rent [1]National vacancy rates for both rental and homeowner housing inched slightly upward year-over-year in Q3, according to data released by the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau on Tuesday [2].

The vacancy rate for rental housing in Q3 2015 was 7.3 percent, an increase of 0.1 percentage points from the same quarter a year ago. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.9 percent in Q3, up 0.1 percentage points both month-over-month and year-over-year.

Vacancy rates in rental housing were highest outside of Metropolitan Statistical Areas at 9.2 percent and were lower in principal cities at 7.7 percent and suburbs at 6.2 percent. The homeowner vacancy rate was also highest outside MSAs at 2.5 percent and was slightly lower inside principal cities at 1.9 percent and in the suburbs at 1.7 percent.

Overall in Q3, approximately 87.1 percent of single-family housing units were occupied and 12.9 percent were vacant, according to the Census Bureau. About 55.5 percent of all single-family housing units were owner-occupied in Q3, while renter-occupied units comprised bout 31.6 percent of single-family housing inventory in the third quarter.

Single-family units that were vacant year-round made up about 9.7 percent of total housing units in the third quarter; 3.2 percent of vacant units were used seasonally, according to the Census Bureau. About 2.5 percent of total single-family units were for rent and 1.1 percent were for sale. Slightly less than 1 percent (0.9) of units had been sold or rented but were yet to be occupied.

Out of the vacant units that were held off the market, which comprised 5.3 percent of the country’s total housing stock in Q3, “1.5 percent were for occasional use, 0.9 percent were temporarily occupied by persons with usual residence elsewhere (URE), and 2.8 percent were vacant for a variety of other reasons,” according to the Census Bureau.

Also according to the Census Bureau’s report on Tuesday, the country’s overall homeownership rate climbed by 0.3 percentage points from Q2 to Q3 up to 63.7 percent; Q2’s reported rate of 63.4 percent was a 48-year low. In the third quarter of 2014, the homeownership rate was 64.4 percent.