National vacancy rates in the first quarter of 2008 were 10.1% for rental housing, up from 9.6% in the fourth quarter of 2007, and 2.9% for homeowner housing this quarter, compared to 2.8% in the previous quarter, according to a report from the Census Bureau on Monday.

The rental vacancy rate was not statistically different from the first quarter rate last year (10.1%).

For homeowner vacancies, the current rate was not statistically different from the first quarter 2007 rate or the rate last quarter (2.8%).

The homeownership rate of 67.8% for the current quarter was lower than the Q1 2007 rate (68.4%), but equivalent to the rate last quarter.



For rental housing by area, the first quarter 2008 vacancy rates inside principal cities (9.7%), in the suburbs (10.3%), and outside Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA's), 10.7%, were not statistically different from each other.

The homeowner vacancy rate in principal cities (4.3%) was higher than in the suburbs (2.5%) and outside MSA's (2.3%).

Regionally, the rental vacancy rates for the current quarter were highest in the South (12.7%) and the Midwest (11.8%). The rates were lowest in the Northeast (7.3%) and the West (7.0%).

By Patrick McGee and edited by Cristina Markham