Census numbers indicate that the most number of vacant homes are in Orlando, FL, with a vacancy rate of 7.4% according the Wall Street Journal Blog. Other areas in Florida with high vacancy rates include: Tampa-St. Petersburg (5.1%), Jacksonville (4.6%), and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (4.4%). The national vacancy rate rose to 2.8% in the fourth quarter of 2007 which is the highest its been since these numbers have been tracked beginning in the 1960’s.
You can click on the map image above to check out the Wall Street Journal’s interactive map of vacancy rates across the country. I especially like the interview of Sean Snaith from the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness. He really does provide a clear picture of what went on in the boom and bust of the Orlando real estate market. He is the guy in the middle and his thoughts sound good to me. It’s far superior to comments about the Orlando real estate market by Hank Fishkind.
The Wall Street Journal really does provide some neat stats with an interactive map format. You can also check out Delinquency Rates Compared with Shrinking Prices, Delinquency Rates for First and Second Mortgages, and Subprime Loans by State. The stats can be dizzying to say the least. Goodness gracious.
So what do these high numbers of vacant homes tell us? Not anything good. Most economists would say that these vacancy rates indicate an over supply of homes on the market and just as when there’s too much of anything on the market prices go down until a stable supply level is reached. Really, it’s just basic economics. Now employment and population growth play a factor in this too. Population growth seems to be slowing in Orlando, but the employment seems to have been fairly steady.
For those Econ geeks out there, Greg Mankiw’s Blog will take care of the itch for a little while.
My opinion is that there is too much supply. Pretty obvious, I know. Now the statistics will also signal a declining supply but statistics are better for figuring out what happened versus what will happen. When I make arrangements to show properties these days, there’s so many vacant ones I can show that it sometimes feels burdensome to even make an appointment with an owner to show a home. At least with properties for sale in SW Orlando, there’s more homes that are vacant than not. Hopefully this will change soon although it will require more work for me to set up showings. All I can say is, “Bring it on”.
From my perspective, I’d say when I have start making a bunch of appointments to show homes it would indicate a march towards stabilization in the supply. Sure hope it happens soon. My bet is that it’s gonna be a few years.