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Empty dwellings are rampant

By Holden Lewis ·
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Posted: 12 pm ET

The homeownership rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1999, according to the Census Bureau.

In the second quarter of this year, the homeownership rate fell to 66.9 percent. That's down from a 67.4 percent homeownership rate in the second quarter of 2009.

The last time the homeownership rate was this low was in the fourth quarter of 1999, when it was the same 66.9 percent. During the Ownership Society years that followed, the rate peaked at 69.2 percent in 2004.

The white homeowership rate was 74.4 percent and the black homeownership rate was 46.2 percent.

Other tidbits from the quarterly vacancy and homeownership report: 10.6 percent of rental units were vacant and up for rent, and 2.5 percent of homeowner-owned houses were vacant and for sale.

That last number, the homeowner vacancy rate, is high by historical standards, and points toward the distressed housing market. The homeowner vacancy rate peaked at 2.9 percent at the end of 2008, and was below 2 percent from at least the mid-1990s until the end of 2005.

Want to turn a vacant house into your home? Step 1: Use our calculators to see how much house you can afford.

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