The US Census Bureau has released its Third Quarter report on Residential Vacancies and Homeownership. As can be seen from the attached chart, the number of vacant homes in Q3 has started increasing once again after posting moderate improvements over the prior two quarters, and is now at 18.8 million units, rising from 18.4 million in the prior year. With new home sales surprising to the downside, look for this number to continue increasing into the fourth quarter. Notable is that the rental vacancy rate stood at an all time high of 11.1%. As James Lockhart, former director of the FHFA which he singlehandedly managed to destroy said: "We are bumping along the bottom of the housing market. There is the potential for another swing down." Don't tell that to the GDP numbers.
Also notable in the release is that the seasonally adjusted homeownership rate of 67.4% is at an almost decade low and at a level last seen in the year 2000.
With even PIMCO going actively negative on MBS, the US housing picture deterioration is sure to accelerate. What the Fed managed to salvage so far after purchasing nearly $1 trillion in MBS is done. From this point on the long, shallow glide lower into increased vacancies and decreased homeownership rate will only become an ever more acute reality once 30 year mortgage rates start their inevitable creep up.
Full census report below: