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Home Vacancy Rate Highest Since Great Depression

Posted Monday, February 18, 2008

Continued foreclosures, the credit crisis, and a looming economic recession are fueling one of the largest community changes ever to hit your neighborhood, vacant houses. Empty houses for sale are popping up in all major communities and no one is immune to their affects.

The Census Bureau recently reported home vacancy rates rose to 2.8%. The home vacancy rate is the number of homes for sale that are sitting vacant. This is the highest vacancy rate since the government began tracking vacancy home rates in the 1960’s. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com stated “this could be the highest vacancy rate since the Great Depression”.

Some cities like Cleveland are getting hit hard. Nearly 10% or 12,000 houses are sitting for sale and are vacant. Other major hit areas are in California, Nevada, and Florida. Most of the states with the highest vacancy rate can be contributed to speculator building by home builders and poor investment buying by real estate investors.

The high vacancy rate is getting the attention from many local governments across the U.S. The major reason is vacant houses depress even the greatest neighborhoods. When vacant houses exist in a community, vandalism and crime increase. Another reason many local governments are taking a look at the vacant house issue is the cost to maintain the houses.

When there is a vacant house that is abandoned by its owner someone has to maintain the property and that happens to be the local government. That is your tax money paying to have the lawn cut, the trees trimmed, the windows boarded up, and the pool drained. Vacant houses also decrease the property values of homes in the same neighborhood.

So next time you see a vacant house in your neighborhood while on your drive home from work, know that you will be affected. This vacant house is steeling your tax money, and decreasing the value of your house.

So what can you do to solve the vacant house problem in your neighborhood, get involved. If you know of someone who is getting behind on their payment and thinking of abandoning their house, get them help. Have them contact a local real estate investor or home buyer to determine their selling options. Have them call their mortgage company and try to work out a new loan with their bank.

If you see an empty house in your neighborhood, contact a local home buyer yourself. Local home buyers will track down the owner of a vacant house and buy. They will then fix any issues with the house and sell it to someone wanting to live in a great home. Local real estate investors are very savvy when it come to real estate. There are many ways homes can be purchase even if they are in foreclosure or have no equity.

Besides taking 2 minutes of your time to contact a local home buyer about an abandoned house in your neighborhood could make all the difference in your homes value when the time comes for you to sell your house.