A record 19.1 million homes stood unoccupied in the first quarter and the U.S. homeownership rate fell as the recession sapped demand for real estate.
The number of vacant homes, including foreclosures, properties for sale and vacation properties, jumped from 18.6 million a year earlier, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report today. Households that own their own residence declined for the third straight quarter to 67.3 percent.
The U.S. financial crisis and falling home prices have shattered the confidence of homebuyers. The percentage of people who said they plan to buy a home in the next six months dropped to a 26-year low in March, according to the Conference Board in New York. Job losses will continue to erode real estate demand, according to an April 23 report by Mark Fleming, chief economist for First American CoreLogic Inc. in Santa Ana, California.
"We expect home prices to continue to decline into 2010 as economic conditions and excess housing inventories dampen prices," Fleming said in the report. "Decreases are now being driven by rising unemployment and a high volume of distressed home sales."
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Home vacancies up during first quarter