Alarming Number Of Homes Vacant At End of 2008

street sign - foreclosure next exitEveryone knows that we are in the midst of a historic real estate slump. Home values are plummeting in many states, foreclosures are spinning out of control and many people are "under water" on their mortgages.

Sometimes you can get lost in an ocean of data and numbers, and forget just how bad this downturn in the housing market really is.

This number snapped me back into reality, and it will probably have the same effect on you too.

NINETEEN MILLION U.S. homes stood empty at the end of 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Here's the breakdown of that number:

Note: There were a total of 130.8 million housing units in the United States in Q4 2008.

-2.23 million empty homes that were for sale
-4.1 million empty homes for rent
-4.8 million seasonal properties
-7.8 million homes in the "other" category, which includes foreclosures

Add these up and you are left with 18.93 million housing units in the United States that sat empty in Q4 2008.

Here is some more sobering data from a recent article on the matter:

-2.22 million new foreclosures in 2008 (6,090 per day)

-US banks owned $11.5 billion dollars worth of foreclosed properties at the end of Q3 2008

-the US housing market lost $3.3 trillion dollars worth of value in 2008

-homeowners lost $1.4 trillion dollars worth of value just in Q4 2008 alone

-median home price dropped 11.6% in 2008

-one out of every six mortgage holders in the United States owes more than their home is worth

I really don't want to be the bearer of bad news - I can't wait until I can start writing about positive things that are happening in our economy.

However, this piece of data just reached across my desk and slapped me in the face. 19 million empty housing units! Even when you subtract the 4.8 million seasonal properties that are currently sitting empty, the data is still alarming.

Makes you wonder just when the real estate market will start to meaningfully recover..

Filed under: Real Estate News | The Economic Meltdown

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