Empty housing units across the country now number approximately 14 million or more, an astounding one in nine homes, according to new census figures.
This glut of inventory, a consequence of the boom and eventual bust in housing, is delaying a housing recovery, says Nicolas Retsinas, head of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, quoted in USA Today.
These millions of unoccupied houses, condos, and apartments create massive problems for the localities in which they’re situated, such as a declining tax base amid rising service costs and worsening crime issues.
“A house that is vacant is often a house that is less well kept up,” Retsinas points out.
The vacancy epidemic seems to be spreading. Once it was confined mainly to cities with poor neighborhoods. Now, however, vacancy rates are burgeoning in the suburbs and in new developments nationwide. [more]