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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lawler: ACS 2011: Big Shift to Rental Market

by Calculated Risk on 9/20/2012 05:49:00 PM

CR Note: This is a fairly long technical piece. These are just excerpts. The complete article is here.

From housing economist Tom Lawler: ACS 2011: Big Shift to Rental Market; Gross Vacancy Rate Virtually Unchanged Despite Drop in Vacant Homes for Rent and For Sale; Household “Estimate” Shockingly Low

The Census Bureau released it ACS 2011 one-year estimates, and for housing folks the data were in some cases interesting and in other cases quite puzzling. ...

A few things jump out: first, the ACS estimate for occupied housing units increased by just 424,306 in 2011, and at 114.992 million was 1.724 million lower than the “official” Census household count on April 1, 2010. Second, the ACS’ estimate of the gross vacancy rate in 2011 was virtually unchanged from 2010, despite a decline in the number of homes for rent or for sale. The reason was an increase in both housing units for seasonal/recreational/occasional use (up 181,000) and an increase in “other” – homes vacant and held of the market for unknown reasons (in the above I included “usual residence elsewhere” and migrant workers” in “other” to be consistent with the other measures.)

Third, the ACS homeownership rate fell from 65.4% in 2010 to 64.6% in 2011, which is a full 1.5 percentage points lower than the HVS.

In terms of the jump in the ACS’ estimate of the number of renters in 2011 vs. 2010, almost half of the 1.033 million increase reflected a jump in the number of householders renting SF detached homes. The ACS estimate of the percent of the occupied SF detached home market that was occupied by renters for 2011 was 15.7%, up from 15.1% in 2010 and 13.1% in 2006. The renter-share of the occupied SF detached housing market increased by over three percentage points from 2006 to 2011 in eleven states plus DC, with the biggest increases coming in Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and California. (The full list is Arizona, California, Colorado, DC, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.)
what is a reasonable assumption to make about the increase in US households in 2011, much less so far in 2012? HVS and ACS data suggest very slow growth in 2011, but neither has been consistent with decennial Census results, and HVS data suggest only a modest pickup in 2012. CPS/ASEC data, in contrast, suggest much faster growth in households since early 2010, but CPS/ASEC data are not consistent with decennial Census data either!

Gosh, it’s no wonder there’s so much confusion on the US housing outlook!

CR Note: This was an excerpt from an article by Tom Lawler.