The National homeowner vacancy rate rose to 2.8% in the third quarter, unchanged from the previous quarter, the U.S. Census Bureau reported on Tuesday.

National vacancy rates for rental housing rates dipped slightly to 9.9% from 10.0% in the second quarter of 2008. The rental vacancy rate was higher than the third quarter rate last year, coming in at 9.8%.

The homeownership rate of 67.9% for the current quarter was lower than the Q2 2007 rate of 68.1% and lower than the previous quarter 67.8% result.

For rental housing by area, the third quarter 2008 vacancy rates in suburbs fell to 9.1% from the previous quarter's 9.3%. The rental rate inside principal cities increased to 10.4%, up from the previous quarter's 10.2% result. The rate for outside Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) came in at 10.4%, an increase from the previous quarter's 9.4% figure.

The homeowner vacancy rate in principal cities came in at 3.5% this quarter, higher than the 2.6% rate in suburbs and lower than the outside MSA's 2.4% rate.

Regionally, the rental vacancy rates for the third quarter were highest in the South at 13%. The Midwest vacancy rate came in second at 10.3%, while the lowest vacancy rates were in the West at 7.6% and Northeast at 6.7%.

By Steve Stecyk and edited by Stephen Huebl
©CEP News Ltd. 2008