19 million homes are currently vacant and for sale, either through foreclosure or bank seizure or just because no one feels like living there — and 19 million is a record.
The share of empty homes that are for sale rose to 2.9 percent, the most in data that goes back to 1956. The homeownership rate fell to 67.5 percent, matching the rate in the first quarter of 2001.
The worst U.S. housing slump since the Great Depression is deepening as foreclosures drain value from neighboring homes and make it more likely owners will walk away from properties worth less than their mortgages.
Vacant homes are bad news for neighborhoods — boarded up windows and a glut of available properties on the market bring down home values fast. Unfortunately, there’s just no quick solution to the problem.