Wednesday, February 02, 2011

11% of All U.S. Homes Are Vacant

How bad is the housing market? Bad and getting worse. As of now, 11% of all U.S. homes are empty. Can you imagine how desperate builders and real estate agents must be at this point?

So think about it. Eleven percent of the houses in America are empty. This as builders start to get more bullish, and renting apartments becomes ever more popular. Vacancies in the apartment sector have been falling steadily and dramatically, why? Because we're still recovering emotionally from the toll of the housing crash.

Younger Americans have seen what home ownership has done to their friends and families, and many want no part of it. Credit has become very nearly elitist. Home prices, whatever your particular data provider preference might be, are still falling.
This is not a recipe for a recovering economy.


Mrs. Bowhunter said...

In our county, if somebody wants to build a new home they must install a sprinkler system. From what we have heard, that is quite costly. I really don't think it is for safety, but more of a tactic to get people to buy homes that all ready standing. I imagine the percentage of abandoned homes is much higher because it costs a lot of money to renovate (we know from experience) and it frankly it is a hassle. Around here it is cheaper and easier to billed a home. The only problem is when it is time to sell that home the value is about the same because of that attitude of a new buyer just wanting to build a home. Unless you are on some hot property this trend will continue. Let the house price's drop. The market was ridiculous, 6 years ago when we were looking for a starter home. No house was under $250,000--and that was for a home that needed major repairs. The sad part was the loan we were allowed to have. When we applied for the loan, I was working part time and hubby was making a decent wage. Not enough to pay the mortgage, bills and eat. Luckily we new I was changing my status to full time and we had a rental apartment. Silly.

BH said...

I agree with my wife, the housing system is broken and will not be fixed for a long time. The way loans were given out is the main cause of our current problem. Back when we were buying our first home, to receive a chafa or federal assisted loan, the mortgage had to suck up 50% or more of your monthly earnings! If you didn't take that deal, you had to take a much higher rate with mortgage insurance on top of it. It seemed worth it to try to make the gov. backed one work. Those are the kind of sick "incentives" that Fanny and Fredie (the backers of federal assistance loans) forced on a first time home buying public with little education about how much it costs to MAINTAIN a home. Even if we could have bought our old house and used 50% of our income for the mortgage, we would never have been able to paint, get a new heating unit, fix the leaking roof, get new windows, and do countless other things that could break an unbalanced budget. My wife and I took this sick deal because we knew that she would be starting to work full time and our income would shoot up and lower our monthly percentage of what our mortgage would gobble up. Most others simply didn't take this into account or couldn't do what we did. The blame falls heavily on the federal gov for pushing people into loans and houses they couldn't afford. Believe me, we went through the process twice (we have two houses) We did one with the federal pressure, one without. The fat carrot the gov was holding out tempted millions of first time home buyers into too much house. I love personal accountability, but in this case we MUST blame the federal housing commission for using such tilted math.

PS. I think PA is one of the only states where new residential homes need sprinklers. This is bad because it launches your home insurance into an outrageous range. The insurance co. predicts that you are more likely to have a catastrophic flood from a water leak than have a sprinkler actually stop a fire. For single residential it doesn't make sense.

CRCHAIR said...

The sprinkler argument is actually more about saving municipalities money than home owners directly. Municipalities are passing residential fire sprinkler laws because then they can have lower fire department budgets. In a home with a properly maintained fire sprinkler system the odds are almost 0% that someone will die in a fire. Also in most fires, 1 or 2 fire sprinklers going off is enough to contain or extinguish the fire. Most people who have trouble with flooding in their homes is because of pipes freezing. (Usually due to the same factors as domestic water pipes freezing such as improper insulation or heat.)

Fire sprinkler systems do add to the cost of building a home, but are no more expensive than many features that many people routinely add to a home. Also, they are much cheaper to install when a home is being built than to retofit an existing home.

CRCHAIR said...

On the home buying front...

The biggest impediment to selling homes seems to me to be either dishonest or incompetent real estate agents/sellers. I have tried to buy (made offers on) 3 homes in the past year and all of them had an almost unbelievable story of how the Real Estate Sellers agent treated me. (This is not my buyers agent who has been very good and honest with me.) In one case the seller's agent tried to get me to sign something that said that I would be responsible to make repairs on the home even before I officially owned it. In the second case, the seller's agent talked me up in the price to a point she said the clients could afford to accept and then once I offered that they came back and said that they owed more on the house than they thought and it would now become a short sale. In the third case, I waited 3 months to hear back on my offer and then the sellers counter offered with a price that was over 25% higher than the asking price. All 3 of these homes could have been sold quickly to someone who had no trouble getting a mortgage and all 3 were not. At least two of these three homes are still on the market today.

BH said...

Their Loss