TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — There are more empty homes in Florida than anywhere else, according to a new LendingTree study of home vacancies across the United States. Overall, the study found more than 16 million houses sit empty across the country.
Florida’s rank among proportion of home vacancies from the study is also high. The Sunshine State has the sixth largest percentage of vacant units in the U.S. Its 17.13% vacancy rate sits behind only five other states, spread across the North, South, Midwest and Alaska.
The U.S. has a total of about 140.44 million homes, with roughly 124 million occupied. Here are the top 10 states by vacancy rate, according to LendingTree analysis of U.S. Census data:
- Vermont (22.86%)
- Maine (22.68%)
- Alaska (20.51%)
- West Virginia (18.12%)
- Florida (17.13%)
- New Hampshire (16.74%)
- Mississippi (16.26%)
- Louisiana (16.21%)
- Wyoming (15.88%)
Nationally, the vacancy rate is 11.66%, with 16,385,739 total homes missing residents, based on the LendingTree numbers pulled from data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Data in the LendingTree study comes from analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey with one-year experimental estimates.
Of the more than 16 million homes left empty of residents in the U.S., the largest number of empty homes is in Florida. With almost 1.7 million houses in the Sunshine State sitting empty, here are the top five states for home vacancies across the country:
- 1,680,844 in Florida
- 1,248,161 in California
- 1,216,084 in Texas
- 955,437 in New York
- 631,361 in Michigan
The high number of vacant homes in the U.S. comes as home prices continue to rise, alongside rental price increases that have continued for more than a year. Market data analyzed by real estate company Zumper showed rent growth in 2022 is “outpacing” the climb of 2021 just three months into the year.
Home sale prices are following a similar trend, with the purchase of a home growing more expensive, seemingly without pause. “Affordability is a core concern when it comes to rapid rent growth, impacting working families and local businesses,” Florida Taxwatch said.
Florida’s median home value is $261,500 according to LendingTree, higher than all but one of the preceding top five state home vacancy rankings. The study by LendingTree said the the vacancy rates don’t explain why homes are getting more expensive.
Instead, we can look to the increasingly low inventory of homes available and on sale for an answer. Recent reports by Zillow, another real estate company, show available housing inventory in places like Tampa, and more largely across the U.S., is down almost 50%, with Tampa’s down 30%.
At the same time, the city is the third most popular place to move in the country, according to a study by Redfin. The only city more popular as a mover’s destination was Miami. While the price of housing continues to go up no matter if you’re renting or selling, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation remains a problem on all economic fronts, including building materials for homes.