NW REporter

Puget Sound region among markets with lowest vacancy rates

Only five major markets in the U.S. have a lower housing vacancy rate than the tri-county Puget Sound region according to Anytime Estimate, a real estate data company. For the area encompassing King, Pierce and Snohomish counties the vacancy rate for rental units and owned homes was 5.4%.

Minneapolis has the lowest overall rate (4.6%) followed by Portland (4.9%), San Jose (5%), Denver (5.1%) and Sal Lake City (5.3%).

Seattle’s rental vacancy rate was 3.6% at the time of the survey, matching Portland and Minneapolis. Boston had the lowest rate at 3%. Sacramento fared slightly better at 3.4%, followed by New York at 3.5%.

The data company’s analysts also reported:

  • There are more than 16 million vacant housing units in the U.S.
  • Nationwide, there is an overall vacancy rate of 11.6%.
  • Rental units alone have a 5.8% vacancy rate, while only 1.4% of homeowner units are vacant.
  • Seven metros have an overall vacancy rate that exceeds the national rate, with four of those areas located in Florida. The seven areas are Orlando, which has the highest rate (15.27%), followed by Miami; Tampa, Florida; Birmingham, Alabama; New Orleans; Riverside, California; and Jacksonville, Florida.

Anytime Estimate said vacancy is a hot topic now because the decreasing rate is causing rents and home prices to rise – problems that are compounded by low housing inventory in many areas and the increasingly visibility of homelessness in major cities.

“Americans are looking for cities with affordable living solutions, but some areas have more options than others,” wrote Sam Huisache, a content writer at Clever Real Estate, a real estate education platform for home buyers, sellers, and investors. She noted most areas with high vacancies are located in tourist-centric regions that tend to have vacancies associated with unused seasonal homes.

High unemployment and economic depression were also noted as contributing factors for high vacancy rates.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Zillow, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis were used in the report.

Anytime Estimate was acquired by Clever Real Estate in 2021.