The Paradox of High Prices and High Vacancy Rates in U.S. Housing Markets
||The Paradox of High Prices and High Vacancy Rates in U.S. Housing Markets
||23rd Annual European Real Estate Society Conference in Regensburg, Germany
||Housing markets in the United States continue to adjust from the effects of a housing bubble, its collapse, and the slow recovery from that collapse. This paper will employ data at the tract level from the American Community Survey for the 383 Metropolitan Statistical Areas of the United States. The research finds that both the market for owner-occupants and the market for renters experienced growth of the supply of units that outpaced the demand for those units. The problem of excessive supply has abated somewhat in the last five years, but the problems of surplus housing continue to be a problem for most markets. Vacancy rates remain at high, perhaps unhealthy, levels. There is a paradox in the market in that, despite surpluses of housing, prices continue to rise faster than inflation and faster than the incomes of the households. With prices rising faster than incomes, housing affordability problems are expanding. The problems of high vacancy rates varies widely across the metropolitan areas of the nation and across the various submarkets of housing defined by price strata. Most markets suffer from shortages only in rental markets at the lowest price levels. The process of filtering non-viable units out of the system does not appear to be working well. Vacancy rates are above optimal levels in most neighborhoods but are highest in the most distressed neighborhoods. These market dynamics call into question some of the policies and programs of the federal government which seek to expand the supply of low-cost rental housing when many of these markets are in surplus.
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||Housing Economics & Housing Policy
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