Are Homebuyers Fleeing Houston?

by Houston Agent

Houston still has a high rate of foreclosures, but its housing market is still making a comeback. Image by © fotog/Tetra Images/Corbis

By Stephanie Sims

In a report from Yahoo! that cites Census Bureau data, the top 10 emptiest cities in the US have been named – and Houston is No. 8 on the list.

Each quarter, the Census Bureau publishes data on homeowner and rental vacancies in the 75 largest cities. The report measures homeowner vacancy rates after the depreciated home values, and the cities that rank highest on the list are Orlando, Dayton, Ohio, Memphis, Detroit, Richmond, Va., Las Vegas, Atlanta, Houston, Tampa and Toledo, Ohio.

Nationwide, vacant properties have increased by an unfortunate 43.8 percent since 2000, according to the Census Bureau. It appears that there’s a natural domino effect once a home is foreclosed upon and vacated: after the foreclosed homeowners either move into a rental or leave the city, an empty home or tax delinquent then decreases the value of nearby houses by at least 1.3 percent, according to the Cleveland Federal Reserve. In addition, vacated homes are not maintained and can look ugly within a neighborhood, making it a less desirable place to live.

While Houston isn’t the worst on this list, with a rental vacancy rate of 15.5 percent and homeowner vacancy rate of 1.9 percent, it’s clear that not everyone is leaving Houston, and, in general, the housing market is on a consistent uptick. Just last week, we reported that Houston single-family home sales in June exceeded 6,400, which is the most since August 2007, and Houston homes’ average days on market has decreased from 77 to 65 days. And earlier today, we covered some of the freshest data yet for the Houston area, with year-over-year home sales in June rising 13 percent, sales volume by 18 percent and inventory dropping to 5.5-months supply.

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  • Raul says:

    This article seems contrary from what houston investors are experiencing, which is a greater demand for single family rentals. Single family home rentals are usually considered a shadow market by vacancy data standards, because they lack the abilty to compile vacancy data as opposed to apartments.

    I don’t think people are leaving Houston, they maybe leaving there owned residence, due to foreclosure and others may not be able to purchase due to current lending restrictions.

    I don’t put a whole lot into anything the gorverment supplys. Its usually dated, by the time they publish.

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