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Friday, July 29, 2011

HVS: Q2 Homeownership and Vacancy Rates

by Calculated Risk on 7/29/2011 02:53:00 PM

The Census Bureau released the Housing Vacancies and Homeownership report for Q2 this morning.

As Tom Lawler has been discussing (see posts at bottom), this is from a fairly small sample, and the homeownership and vacancy rates are higher than estimated in other reports (like Census 2010). This report is commonly used by analysts to estimate the excess vacant supply for housing, but it doesn't appear to be useful for that purpose.

It does show the trend, but I wouldn't rely on the absolute numbers.

Homeownership Rate Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

The Red dots are the decennial Census homeownership rates for April 1st 1990, 2000 and 2010. The HVS homeownership rate declined to 65.9%, down from 66.4% in Q1 2010.

From Tom Lawler:

The HVS has consistently overstated overall US housing vacancy rates, and consistently understated the number of US households – mainly “missing” millions of renter households – for over a decade. Census 2010 “found” 116,716,292 US households for April 1, 2010, 75,986,074 of which were owner-occupied households, and 40,730,218 of which were renter-occupied households.

While the HVS numbers don’t “correlate” all that well, a decent “best guess” for the US homeownership rate last quarter would probably be around 64.2%, or about the same as in 1990. Given the substantial aging of the population over the last two decades, that would imply that homeownership rates for most age groups last quarter were the lowest since the 1980’s.
CR note: we will get the Census 2010 age group homeownership rates soon.

Homeowner Vacancy RateThe HVS homeowner vacancy rate declined to 2.5% from 2.6% in Q1.

From Lawler:
The “homeowner vacancy rate” from the HVS last quarter was 2.5%, down from 2.6% in the previous quarter but unchanged from a year ago. The HVS homeowner vacancy rate in the first half of 2010 was 2.55%, compared to the decennial Census estimate as of April 1, 2010 of 2.4%.
Rental Vacancy RateLawler:
This survey also produced an estimated rental vacancy rate last quarter of 9.2%, down from 9.7% in the previous quarter and 10.6% in the second quarter of last year. The HVS estimate of the US rental vacancy rate for the first half of 2010 was 10.6%, compared to the decennial Census estimates as of Apri1 1, 2010 of 9.2%. Last quarter’s HVS rental vacancy rate was the lowest since the third quarter of 2002.
This report does suggest that the homeownership rate and vacancy rates are falling.

Here are some previous posts about some of the HVS issues by economist Tom Lawler:
Census Bureau on Homeownership Rate: We've got “Some 'Splainin' to Do”
Be careful with the Housing Vacancies and Homeownership report
Lawler: Census 2010 and the US Homeownership Rate
Lawler: Census 2010 Demographic Profile: Highlights, Excess Housing Supply Estimate, and Comparison to HVS
Lawler: The “Excess Supply of Housing” War
Lawler: Census Releases Demographic Profile of 12 States and DC: Confirms Bias of HVS
Lawler: Census 2010 and Excess Vacant Housing Units
Lawler: On Census Housing Stock/Household Data
Lawler: Housing Vacancy Survey appears to massively overstate number of vacant housing units
Lawler: US Households: Why Researchers / Analysts are “Confused”