Apr 012011
by The Martignetti Group


Throughout the nation, as in southeast Florida, real estate markets are being negatively affected by the high vacancy rate. According to a recent U.S Census Bureau report, the vacancy rate for the nation is at 11.4%. The problem with a high vacancy rate is that leads to lower housing prices, which restricts the ability of the market to recover from the collapse of the housing bubble.
Of all the states, Maine has the highest vacancy rate, at 22.8%, but Florida is only slightly behind, at a rate of 17.5%. Some problems, however, have been raised concerning how the U.S Census Bureau determines vacancy.
These reports include second homes, vacation homes and beach houses as vacant if their owners do not spend a majority of their time there, as the census allows participants to select only one home as their residence.
For real estate analysts, the vacancy rates may seem to be an indicator of the vitality of the market, but Census Bureau reports have to be understood properly, as the situation is very different between a vacation home or a southeast Florida beach house, and a foreclosed home. In order to get a more accurate vacancy rate, a closer look that takes owned but not technically lived-in property into account is required.
For some states, further research has shown that a majority of these vacant properties are not truly vacant properties. In Maine, for example, over two-thirds of the vacant properties are vacation homes. In Florida, however, the vacancy rate is still high after taking forms of owned but technically vacant property into consideration, at around 10%.
While hopes are high that the southeast Florida real estate market will recover faster than the more conservative estimates, data such as vacancy rates is showing that the market may still have some tome to pass before making a full recovery.

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