20 % Florida Homes Vacant

By: Susan Harris - Staff Writer
Published: Mar 18, 2021

20 % Florida Homes Vacant. About 20% of Florida home are vacant, according to the Census Bureau. It’s not always easy to feel sorry for the sunny state.

The Census Bureau revealed that 18% — or 1.6 million — of the Sunshine State’s homes are sitting vacant. That’s a rise of more than 63% over the past 10 years.

Having this amount of oversupply on the market will keep home prices depressed and slow any recovery.

During the housing boom, Florida was among the hottest real estate markets in the nation. Homes were snapped up by the state’s growing population as well as hordes of investors confident that prices would continue to soar.

“You’d drive through downtown Miami and see 30 or 40 cranes sticking up in the air,” said Michael Larson, a housing market analyst for Weiss Research.

The bust brought an end to that. Development ground to a halt. Retirees stopped relocating. And prices started falling and vacancies rising.

“Housing went from being the preeminent investment of choice to toxic waste,” added Richard DeKaser, an economist with the Parthenon Group.

The vacancy problem is more dire in Florida than in any other bubble market: In California, only 8% of units were vacant, while Nevada, the state with the nation’s highest foreclosure rate, had about 14% sitting empty. Arizona had a vacancy rate of about 16%.

In Florida, the worst-hit county is Collier — home of Naples — with a whopping 32% of homes empty. In Sarasota County, 23% of the housing stock sits vacant, while Lee County (Cape Coral) has a 30% vacancy rate. And Miami-Dade County has a vacancy rate of about 12%.

The housing recovery will take years, perhaps many years, to complete, according to Ingo Winzer, a housing market analyst and founder of Local Market Monitor.


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