Perhaps I missed it, but I didn't see any coverage of the Census Bureau's release of data on vacancy rates for the third quarter. It's a mixed picture.
The vacancy rate for rental units had fallen sharply in the second quarter from 9.7 percent to 9.2 percent. However this was completely reversed in the latest data, which showed a 9.8 percent vacancy rate. This is still down from the peak 11.1 percent peak reached two years ago, but far above historic vacancy rates. The vacancy rate for ownership units was little changed at 2.4 percent. This is down from a peak of 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, but almost a full percentage point above the average from the pre-bubble period.
The vacancy data certainly suggest that any hopes of an upturn in housing any time soon are seriously misplaced. There is along way to go before the excess supply is depleted.