by Calculated Risk on 8/02/2023 05:20:00 PM
The Census Bureau released the Residential Vacancies and Homeownership report for Q2 2023 today.
The results of this survey were significantly distorted by the pandemic in 2020.
This report is frequently mentioned by analysts and the media to track household formation, the homeownership rate, and the homeowner and rental vacancy rates. However, there are serious questions about the accuracy of this survey.
This survey might show the trend, but I wouldn’t rely on the absolute numbers. Analysts probably shouldn’t use the HVS to estimate the excess vacant supply or household formation, or rely on the homeownership rate, except as a guide to the trend.
National vacancy rates in the second quarter 2023 were 6.3 percent for rental housing and 0.7 percent for
homeowner housing. The rental vacancy rate was higher than the rate in the second quarter 2022 (5.6
percent) and not statistically different than the rate in the first quarter 2023 (6.4 percent).
The homeowner vacancy rate of 0.7 percent was lower than the rate in the second quarter 2022 (0.8 percent)
and not statistically different than the rate in the first quarter 2023 (0.8 percent).
The homeownership rate of 65.9 percent was not statistically different from the rate in the second quarter
2022 (65.8 percent) and not statistically different from the rate in the first quarter 2023 (66.0 percent).
The HVS homeownership rate was declined slightly at 65.9% in Q2, from 66.0% in Q1.
The results in Q2 and Q3 2020 were distorted by the pandemic and should be ignored.
The HVS homeowner vacancy was decreased to 0.7% in Q2 from 0.8% in Q1.
Once again – this probably shows the general trend, but I wouldn’t rely on the absolute numbers.