WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP)– A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that housing vacancy rates are their lowest since the 1980s.

The Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) shows that both homeowner and rental property availability decreased between 2009 and 2019 as the nation recovered from the foreclosure crisis. The housing supply began to dwindle again during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the report, the homeowner vacancy rate in the first quarter of 2022 was 0.8%, an all time low since the creation of the HVS 66 years ago. A combination of low inventory and high sale prices, bidding wars and an increase in the interest rates are all factors. The Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley reported that for March 2022 the median prices of homes in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties were up 13.2% compared to last March. A recent story on CNBC found that the residential housing inventory may be rising, partially due to slower sales as a result of in an increase in mortgage rates.

Graph courtesy U.S. Census Bureau

The HVS found that rental vacancy properties are also down, the lowest since 1985. The pandemic impacted renters and landlords. Some renters lost jobs, some had to stay home with children during lockdown making it difficult to look for a new apartment, or for landlords to show apartments as eviction mandates were in place.

U.S. Rental Vacancy Rate: 1956-2022
Graph courtesy U.S. Census Bureau

Future quarterly releases and more data about vacancy rates and the housing inventory, as well as methodology, confidentiality protection, and sampling and non-sampling error can be found on the HVS webpage.