Connecticut Vacancies Grow Even as Homeownership Rate Rises
By MARA LEE
October 06, 2011
In the past decade, when homeownership fell nationally by the largest margin since the Great Depression, from 66.2 percent to 65.9 percent, Connecticut's homeownership rate increased.
In 2000, 66.8 percent of Connecticut's lived-in houses and condos were owner-occupied. In 2010, the percentage was 67.5.
The data comes from the U.S. Census, a canvassing of every house, apartment, trailer and houseboat in the country.
The fact that Connecticut zigged while the country zagged is yet another sign that the Land of Steady Habits avoided the excesses of the housing bubble and the devastating bust that followed.
Connecticut's housing vacancy rate — which includes empty apartments waiting to be rented, bank-owned houses waiting to sell, houses waiting to sell after an owner transferred out of state or died, and vacation homes — increased by 38.5 percent over the decade. While that sounds dramatic, it was less than the national increase of 43.8 percent, and far less than Nevada, the epicenter of the housing bust, where vacancy rates more than doubled.
What caused the rise in vacancies? It wasn't a surge in vacation homes, though a majority of the vacant properties in Litchfield and Middlesex counties are weekend retreats.
It was the simple fact that the state added nearly 102,000 new houses, condos and apartments from 2000 to 2010, but in 2010, there were only 69,417 additional households than a year earlier.
One reason is that, with the arrival of the Great Recession in this past decade, many adult children moved back in with their parents because they were unable to find full-time work, or were unable to keep paying rent or a mortgage without a job.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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