Rental Vacancy Rate

Reduced rental vacancy rates and statistics indicate COVID-19 sent many renters to the suburbs, driving up area rent prices and emptying cities.

6.4%
national rental vacancy rate
5.5%
suburban rental vacancy rate
31%
vacancies available to rent
40%
vacancy decline since 2010

Map of State Rental Vacancy Rates

Seasonal rental vacancies, such as vacation rentals or Airbnbs, make up 28.1% of all rental vacancies and are not included in this report.

National Rental Vacancy Rate

The national rental vacancy rate – the percentage of unoccupied units in a multi-family property – has slid in recent years. During some financial quarters, rental vacancies fell below 6%.

  • 6.4% of rental units in the United States are vacant.
  • The lowest rental vacancy rate of 2020 was 5.7% in the second financial quarter.
  • The national rate of vacancy has declined 5.9% over 12 months.
  • The vacancy rate has declined 39.6% since 2010, when vacancy hit an all-time high.
  • Among rental vacancies, 31.5% are available for rent.
  • The homeowner vacancy rate is 0.9%.
  • 66.7% of vacant homes are for sale.

Guide to Calculating Vacancy Rates

COVID-19 & Rental Vacancies

While the 25-year trend of coastal population growth continues, statistics indicate renters are fleeing urban centers as a result of COVID-19.

  • Suburban areas have a 5.5% rate of vacancy, a 9.8% decline over 12 months.
  • In major cities, rental vacancy rates remain steady at 7.1%, a 1.4% increase over 12 months.
  • In nonmetropolitan statistical areas, the rate of vacancy is 7.5%, down 2.6% over 12 months.
  • Manhattan’s rate of vacancy has tripled in the past year to 6.1%.
  • Rental vacancy rates may have increased from the 2nd to 3rd quarter due to the end of a national moratorium on evictions.
  • In general, financial service organizations predict vacancy rates will continue to rise.
  • The trend of high-income rental growth will continue though rental growth over all will remain low.
State Rental Vacancy Rates, Lowest to Highest
Rank State Vacancy Rate Rank State Vacancy Rate
1 New Hampshire 1.9% 26 New Mexico 6.2%
2 Rhode Island 2.1% 27 Connecticut 6.3%
3 Vermont 2.6% 27 Michigan 6.3%
4 New Jersey 3.0% 29 Maryland 6.4%
5 Minnesota 3.3% 30 Georgia 6.5%
6 Massachusetts 3.7% 31 Florida 7.0%
7 Washington 4.0% 32 Mississippi 7.7%
8 Kentucky 4.3% 32 Wyoming 7.7%
9 North Carolina 4.5% 34 Oklahoma 7.9%
10 Ohio 4.6% 35 Pennsylvania 8.1%
10 Wisconsin 4.6% 36 Arizona 8.3%
12 California 4.7% 37 South Carolina 8.4%
12 Montana 4.7% 37 Tennessee 8.4%
12 Nevada 4.7% 39 Illinois 8.5%
15 Utah 4.8% 39 Missouri 8.5%
15 Virginia 4.8% 41 Indiana 8.6%
17 Delaware 4.9% 41 South Dakota 8.6%
18 Colorado 5.0% 43 Hawaii 8.7%
19 Idaho 5.3% 43 Louisiana 8.7%
19 West Virginia 5.3% 45 Iowa 8.8%
21 Maine 5.4% 46 Arkansas 9.0%
21 Oregon 5.4% 47 Texas 9.9%
23 Nebraska 5.8% 48 Kansas 10.3%
24 Alaska 6.1% 49 Alabama 12.3%
24 New York 6.1% 50 North Dakota 14.1%

Regional & State Vacancy

Rental vacancy statistics indicate renters are fleeing the middle of the country for the coasts; population shifts on the East Coast and in the Midwest are especially dramatic.

  • New vacancies are highest in midwestern and plains states.
  • In southern states, the rate of vacancy is 7.6%.
  • On the West Coast, the rental vacancy rate is 5.1%.
  • In the Midwest, the vacancy rate is 6.9%, and in the Northeast, the vacancy rate is 5.6%.
  • North Dakota has the highest rate of vacant units at 14.1%.
  • Alabama and Kansas both have vacancy rates in excess of 10%.
  • New Hampshire has the lowest vacancy rate at 1.9%.
  • Vermont and Rhode Island both have vacancy rates below 3%.
  • Utah experienced the largest 12-month change, with a 60% increase in rental vacancies.
  • Iowa and Minnesota rental vacancies rose by 57% in 12 months.
  • Maryland’s rental vacancy rate shrank the most, decreasing 42% over 12 months.
  • North Carolina and New Jersey are the only other states that decreased rental vacancies by more than 30%.

Alabama

Alabama has the second-highest rate of vacancy among all states.

  • At 12.3%, Alabama has a very high rate of vacancy.
  • Rental vacancy increased 21.8% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 2.43%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has increased 0.1%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 26.8%.
  • The metropolitan area of Birgmingham-Hoover has a rental vacancy rate of 13.4%.
  • 31% of Alabama households rent.

Alaska

Alaska has a rate of vacancy that is just below the national average.

  • 6.1% is the current vacancy rate.
  • Rental vacancy declined 16.4% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy increased at an annual rate of 2.18%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has increased 64.9%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 39%.
  • 36% of Alaskan households rent.

Arizona

Arizona’s rental market has been volatile in the 21st Century. Tucson has a very high vacancy rate.

  • At 8.3%, Arizona has a high average rental vacancy rate.
  • Rental vacancy increased 31.7% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy increased at an annual rate of 0.49%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 41.5%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 17%.
  • The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan area has a rental vacancy rate of 6.6%.
  • Tucson’s vacancy rate is 13.8%.
  • 36% of Arizona households rent.

Arkansas

Arkansas is among the Top 10 emptiest states in terms of vacant rental properties.

  • At 9.0%, Arkansas has a high rate of vacancy.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 2.2% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 3.33%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 8.2%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 24.4%.
  • The Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metropolitan area has a rental vacancy rate of 9.4%.
  • 34% of Arkansas households rent.

California

Fresno, California has an exceptionally low rate of vacancy.

  • At 4.7%, California’s rental vacancy rate is lower than most other states.
  • Rental vacancy increased 9.3% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy increased at an annual rate of 2.38%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 32.7%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 24.2%.
  • The city of Fresno has a rental vacancy rate of 1.9%.
  • At 6.7%, San Francisco has the highest vacancy rate among California’s major cities.
  • 45% of California households rent.

Colorado

Colorado’s rental market has improved significantly in the past 15 years.

  • At 5.0%, Colorado’s rate of vacancy is below average.
  • Rental vacancy increased 8.7% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 2.46%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 33.3%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 64.3%.
  • The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area has an average rental vacancy rate of 5.7%.
  • 35% of Colorado households rent.

Connecticut

Connecticut has a higher rate of vacancy than the state of Alaska.

  • At 6.3%, Connecticut’s rate of vacancy is about average.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 16% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy increased at an annual rate of 2.91%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 31.5%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 20.3%.
  • The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metropolitan area has an average rental vacancy rate of 3.7%.
  • Hartford has a 7.0% vacancy rate.
  • 34% of households rent.

Delaware

Delaware’s popularity has grown steadily in the 21st Century.

  • At 4.9%, Delaware has fewer rental vacancies than most other states.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 9.3% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 8.05%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 55.0%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 55.9%.
  • The Wilmington-Camden-Philadelphia metropolitan area has an average rental vacancy rate of 5.5%.
  • 29% of Delaware households rent.

Florida

Florida’s overall rental vacancy rate has improved in the past decade, but some areas are high-risk for hypervacancy.

  • At 7.0%, Florida’s rate of vacancy is about average.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 17.6% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 2.28%.
  • Since 2010, vacant rentals have decreased 47.0%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has decreased 36.4%.
  • At 4.7%, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area has the lowest rental vacancy rate among Florida’s major cities.
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers has the highest vacancy rate among Florida’s major cities at 19.5%.
  • 35% of households rent.

Georgia

Georgia’s popularity among renters has steadily increased in the past 15 years.

  • At 6.5%, Georgia has an average rate of vacancy.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 9.7% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 5.23%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 48.8%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 53.6%.
  • The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metropolitan area has a rental vacancy rate of 5.8%.
  • 37% of households rent.

Hawaii

Rental vacancy rates have increased significantly over the past 15 years.

  • At 8.7%, the state has a high rate of vacancy.
  • Rental vacancy from increased 26.1% 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy increased at an annual rate of 0.71%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has increased 10.1%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has increased 81.3%.
  • Urban Honolulu has 6.0% rental vacancy.
  • 42% of households rent.

Idaho

Idaho has a rental vacancy rate on par with its neighbors Oregon and Utah.

  • At 5.3%, the state has a relatively low vacancy rate.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 23.2% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 2.03%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 43.0%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 8.6%.
  • 31% of households rent.

Illinois

Illinois has one of the higher vacancy rates among states. Chicago’s rental vacancy is very high.

  • At 8.5%, the state has a high rental vacancy rate.
  • Rental vacancy increased 1.2% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy increased at an annual rate of 0.99%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 9.3%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 38.8%.
  • The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metropolitan area has a 9.2% rental vacancy rate.
  • 34% of households rent.

Indiana

Indiana’s rental vacancy rate is high, and Indianapolis’ vacancy is exceptionally high.

  • At 8.6%, the state has a high rate of vacancy.
  • Rental vacancy increased 36.5% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 2.97%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 36.3%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy among rental properties has decreased 47.6%.
  • The Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson metropolitan area has 11.0% rental vacancy.
  • 31% of households rent.

Iowa

Iowa saw an exceptional 12-month rate of increase in rental vacancy from 2019 to 2020.

  • At 8.8%, Iowa has a high rental vacancy rate.
  • Rental vacancy increased 57.1% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy increased at an annual rate of 13.9%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has increased 0.6%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has increased 38.0%.
  • 29% of households rent.

Kansas

Historically, Kansas has one of the nation’s highest rental vacancy rates.

  • At 10.3%, Kansas has a very high vacancy rate.
  • Rental vacancy increased 0.1% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 6.45%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 3.7%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 7.2%.
  • 34% of households rent.

Kentucky

Louisville has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates among the nation’s largest cities.

  • At 4.3%, Kentucky has a low rate of vacancy.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 36.8% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 10.2%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 60.9%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 64.2%.
  • The Louisville-Jefferson County metropolitan statistical area has 2.7% rental vacancy.
  • 33% of households rent.

Louisiana

Louisiana’s vacancy rate is high, but for the state, it’s historically low.

  • At 8.7%, the rental vacancy rate is well above the national average.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 18.7% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 2.06%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 31.0%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 8.4%.
  • The New Orleans-Metairie metropolitan area has a 7.2% rental vacancy rate.
  • Baton Rouge has a vacancy rate of 9.3%.
  • 35% of households rent.

Maine

Maine’s rental vacancy rate is below the national average.

  • At 5.4%, the rate of vacancy is below that national average.
  • Rental vacancy increased 14.9% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy increased at an annual rate of 4.00%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 30.8%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 19.4%.
  • 28% of households rent.

Maryland

Baltimore has a very high rental vacancy rate.

  • At 6.4%, the vacancy rate is about average.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 41.8% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 4.94%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 37.9%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 36%.
  • The Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metropolitan area has a 9.6% rate of rental vacancy.
  • 33% of households rent.

Massachusetts

Renting is popular in Massachusetts. Worcester has the lowest vacancy rate among the 75 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas.

  • At 3.7%, Massachusetts has a low rental vacancy rate.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 11.9% from 2019 to 2020.
  • In 2015, the vacancy rate was 3.7%.
  • Since 2010, vacancy has decreased 59.8%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 41.3%.
  • The Boston-Cambridge-Newton metropolitan area has a rental vacancy rate of 3.3%.
  • Worcester’s vacancy rate is below 0.5%.
  • 38% of households rent.

Michigan

Michigan and its cities have below-average vacancy rates.

  • At 6.3%, the rental vacancy rate is about average.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 4.5% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy increased at an annual rate of 2.50%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 52.3%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 57.1%.
  • The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metropolitan area has 5.1% rental vacancy.
  • The Grand Rapids-Wyoming area has a vacancy rate of 3.0%.
  • 29% of households rent.

Minnesota

Renting isn’t popular in Minnesota, and the state had an exceptionally high 12-month increase in its rental vacancy rate.

  • At 3.3%, the rate of vacancy is very low.
  • Rental vacancy increased 57.1% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 0.59%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 68.6%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 70.8%.
  • The Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan area has a vacancy rate of 3.1%.
  • 28% of households rent.

Mississippi

Mississippi has a rental vacancy rate that’s above average, but for the state, it’s historically low.

  • At 7.7%, the rate of vacancy is above the national average.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 7.2% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 6.00%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 56.3%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 47.6%.
  • 32% of households rent.

Missouri

Kansas City has a very high vacancy rate.

  • At 8.5%, the rental vacancy rate is fairly high
  • Vacancy decreased 15.8% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 4.26%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 33.6%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 43.7%.
  • The Kansas City metropolitan area has a rental vacancy rate of 9.3%.
  • St. Louis has 5.6% vacancy.
  • 33% of households rent.

Montana

Montana has maintained a low rental vacancy rate for years.

  • At 4.7%, the rate of vacancy is fairly low.
  • Rental vacancy increased 38.2% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy increased at an annual rate of 1.36%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 17.5%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 60.8%.
  • 32% of households rent.

Nebraska

Nebraska’s rental vacancy rate is low in comparison with the national average as well as the state’s historical average.

  • At 5.8%, the rental vacancy rate is a little below the national average.
  • Rental vacancy declined 26.6% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 5.68%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has declined 21.6%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has declined 44.2%.
  • 34% of households rent.

Nevada

Nevada has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates it has had in the 21st Century.

  • At 4.7%, the rate of vacancy is low.
  • Vacancy declined 17.5% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 8.81%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has declined 63.3%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has declined 34.7%.
  • The Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise metropolitan area has a rental vacancy rate of 5.1%.
  • 44% of households rent.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire has the lowest rental vacancy rate in the nation. Its vacancy rate declined at a higher rate of change than any other state from 2019 to 2020.

  • At 1.9%, the vacancy rate is extremely low.
  • Rental vacancy declined 60.4% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 14.3%.
  • Since 2010, vacancy has declined 76.8%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has diminished 58.7%.
  • 29% of households rent.

New Jersey

New Jersey has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates in the country.

  • At 3.0%, the rate of vacancy is very low.
  • Rental vacancy declined 36.2% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy declined at an annual rate of 8.68%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 63.4%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has declined 59.5%.
  • 36% of households rent.

New Mexico

The state’s vacancy rate is just below the national average, but Albuquerque has a relatively high vacancy rate.

  • At 6.2%, the rental vacancy rate is on par with the national average.
  • The rate of vacant rental properties rose 8.8% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy declined at an annual rate of 6.67%.
  • The vacancy rate in 2010 was 6.2%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has declined 10.1%.
  • Albuquerque has a vacancy rate of 6.8%.
  • 32% of households rent.

New York

Among states’ inhabitants, New Yorkers are the most likely to live in rental housing.

  • At 6.1%, the rental vacancy rate is on par with the national average.
  • Rental vacancy increased 19.6% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy increased at an annual rate of 1.79%.
  • Since 2010, vacancy has declined 3.17%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has risen 41.9%.
  • The New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area has a vacancy rate of 5.1%.
  • Syracuse has a vacancy rate of 14.9%.
  • 46% of households rent.

North Carolina

Renting is fairly popular in North Carolina, especially in the city of Raleigh.

  • At 4.5%, the rental vacancy rate is low.
  • Rental vacancy declined 32.8% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 10.0%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has declined 65.1%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has decreased 65.6%.
  • The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia metropolitan area has a rental vacancy rate of 6.7%.
  • The Greensboro-High Point area has 5.8% vacancy.
  • Raleigh has an exceptionally low vacancy rate at 2.6%.
  • 35% of households rent.

North Dakota

North Dakota has the highest rental vacancy rate in the nation. Vacancy has increased significantly since 2015.

  • At 14.1%, the rate of vacant rental properties is exceptionally high.
  • Rental vacancy increased 27.0% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy increased at an annual rate of 15.3%.
  • Since 2010, the rate of vacany among rental units has risen 80.8%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has increased 72.0%.
  • 37% of households rent.

Ohio

The city of Toledo has an exceptionally low rental vacancy rate; it’s 95.4% lower than the vacancy rate in Cincinnati.

  • At 4.6%, the rate of vacancy is lower than average.
  • Rental vacancy declined 28.1% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, vacancy decreased at an annual rate of 9.55%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has declined 63.2%.
  • Since 2005, vacancy has declined 68.1%.
  • Toledo has a vacancy rate below 0.5%.
  • Akron, Ohio has a vacancy rate of 3.3%.
  • Cleveland and Columbus have comparable vacancy rates at 4.7% and 5.2%, respectively.
  • At 10.9%, Cincinnati has the highest rate of vacancy among Ohio’s major cities.
  • 34% of households rent.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s rental vacancy rate is lower than it has been for most of the 21st Century. Tulsa’s vacancy rate is 67.3% higher than the rate of vacancy in the average U.S. city.

  • At 7.9%, the rate of vacancy is above the national average.
  • Vacancy rates decreased 16.8% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy declined at an annual rate of 3.88%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has diminished 24.0%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has diminished 43.2%.
  • Oklahoma City has a rental vacancy rate of 4.5%.
  • Tulsa vacancy rate is 9.2%.
  • 34% of households rent.

Oregon

Rental housing is fairly popular in Oregon, especially in cities like Portland where there are 2⁄3 as many rental vacancies per property as there are in the average U.S. city.

  • At 5.4%, the rental vacancy rate is below the national average.
  • Rental vacancy remained at 5.4% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy declined at an annual rate of 3.88%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 16.9%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has decreased 45.5%.
  • The Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metropolitan area has a rental vacancy rate of 3.7%.
  • 38% of households rent.

Pennsylvania

Rental vacancy rates are above average but have been steady throughout the beginning of the 21st Century.

  • At 8.1%, the rate of vacancy is well above the national average.
  • Rental vacancy rose 17.4% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy increased at an annual rate of 3.14%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has risen 6.58%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has declined 3.57%.
  • The Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metropolitan statistical area has a rental vacancy rate of 5.5%.
  • Pittsburgh’s vacancy rate is 11.8%.
  • 31% of households rent.

Rhode Island

Rental housing is popular in Rhode Island. The state’s rental vacancy rate is one of the lowest in the nation.

  • At 2.1%, the rate of vacancy is very low.
  • Rental vacancy diminished 52.3% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy declined at an annual rate of 12.1%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has declined 72.0%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has declined 69.1%.
  • The Providence-Warwick metropolitan area has a 3.3% rental vacancy rate.
  • 40% of households rent.

South Carolina

Charleston has by far the highest rental vacancy rate among major U.S. cities.

  • At 8.4%, the rate of vacancy is well above the national average.
  • Rental vacancy declined 15.2% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy increased at an annual rate of 7.10%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has diminished 40.8%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has declined 7.69%.
  • The rental vacancy rate in Columbia is 6.7%.
  • At a rate of 23.2%, the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville metropolitan area has rental hypervacancy.
  • 31% of households rent.

South Dakota

South Dakota has one of the nation’s highest vacancy rates and has for most of the 21st Century.

  • At 8.6%, the rental vacancy rate is higher than average.
  • Rental vacancy declined 13.1% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy increased at an annual rate of 9.66%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has declined 7.53%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has risen 22.9%.
  • 32% of households rent.

Tennessee

Tennessee has a high rental vacancy rate, but it’s one of the state’s lowest rates in the past 15 years.

  • At 8.4%, the rate of vacancy is well above average.
  • Rental vacancy declined 28.8% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy declined at an annual rate of 0.24%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 32.3%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has decreased 11.6%.
  • Knoxville has a rental vacancy rate of 6.6%.
  • 34% of households rent.

Texas

Texas has one of the highest rental vacancy rates in the nation. Houston’s vacancy rate is exceptionally high.

  • At 9.9%, the rate of vacancy is much higher than the national average.
  • Rental vacancy increased 3.13% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy declined at an annual rate of 2.16%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has declined 34.0%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has declined 23.3%.
  • The San Antonio-New Braunfels metropolitan area has a 6.7% rental vacancy rate.
  • The Austin-Round Rock and Dallas-Ft. Worth-Arlington metropolitan areas have comparable vacancy rates of 7.8% and 8.3% respectively.
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land has a vacancy rate of 10.9%.
  • 38% of households rent.

Utah

Utah saw the most significant 12-month increase in rental vacancy from 2019 to 2020.

  • At 4.8%, the rental vacancy rate is well below the national average.
  • Rental vacancy increased 60.0% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy declined at an annual rate of 1.18%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has decreased 28.4%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has decreased 15.8%.
  • Salt Lake City has 6.1% rental vacancy.
  • 30% of households rent.

Vermont

Vermont has one of the nation’s lowest rental vacancy rates and is on a 10-year decline in vacancies. It saw the steepest 12-month decline in rental vacancies from 2019 to 2020.

  • At 2.6%, the rate of vacancy is exceptionally low.
  • Rental vacancy declined 45.8% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy declined at an annual rate of 9.39%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has diminished 63.9%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has diminished 46.9%.
  • 29% of households rent.

Virginia

Virginia’s rental vacancy rate is less than half of what it was a decade ago.

  • At 4.8%, the rate of vacancy is comfortably below the national average.
  • Rental vacancy declined 9.43% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy declined at an annual rate of 6.09%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has declined 56.4%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has declined 40.7%.
  • At 0.5%, Richmond has an exceptionally low vacancy rate.
  • The Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria metropolitan area has a 5.4% rental vacancy rate.
  • 34% of households rent.

Washington

Washington has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates among the states.

  • At 4.0%, the rate of vacancy is quite low.
  • Rental vacancy declined 9.09% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy increased at an annual rate of 1.05%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has declined 45.9%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has declined 34.4%.
  • The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area has a 4.2% rental vacancy rate.
  • 37% of households rent.

West Virginia

Though few of West Virginia’s citizens live in rental housing, the state’s vacancy rate is on a 15-year decline.

  • At 5.3%, the rental vacancy rate is below average.
  • Rental vacancy decreased 15.9% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy declined at an annual rate of 4.64%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has declined 34.6%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has declined 51.4%.
  • 27% of households rent.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin is among the 10 states with the lowest rental vacancy rates.

  • At 4.6%, Wisconsin’s rate of vacancy is on the lower-end.
  • Rental vacancy declined 2.13% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy increased at an annual rate of 4.86%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has declined 52.1%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has declined 42.5%.
  • The Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metropolitan area has a 5.7% rental vacancy rate.
  • 33% of households rent.

Wyoming

While rental vacancy in Wyoming is nationally high, it seems to be historically average for the state.

  • At 7.7%, the rental vacancy rate is above average.
  • Rental vacancy increased 4.05% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Over the past 5 years, rental vacancy declined at an annual rate of 5.47%.
  • Since 2010, rental vacancy has increased 1.32%.
  • Since 2005, rental vacancy has increased 32.8%.
  • 31% of households rent.

National Map of the Largest 12-Month Rental Vacancy Rate Changes Among States

Most Populated Cities’ Rental Vacancy Rates
Rank Metropolitan Area Population Vacancy Rate Change from 2019
1 New York, NY 8.34M 5.1% +20%
2 Los Angeles, CA 3.98M 3.8% -2.6%
3 Chicago, Illinois 2.69M 9.2% +48%
4 Houston, Texas 2.32M 11% -11%
5 Phoenix, AZ 1.68M 6.6% +25%
6 Philadelphia, PA 1.58M 5.5% -31%
7 San Antonio, TX 1.55M 6.7% -26%
8 San Diego, CA 1.42M 6.6% -5.7%
9 Dallas, TX 1.34M 8.3% +34%
10 San Jose, CA 1.02M 3.4% -8.1%

Local Rental Vacancy Rates

The emptiest cities have seen further declines in rental vacancy while cities with the highest rental rate rank due to sudden influx in the renter population.

  • Richmond, Virginia has the lowest calculable rental vacancy rate among major metropolitan areas, with just 0.5% of units unrented.
  • Charleston, South Carolina has the highest vacancy rate, with almost 1-in-4 rental units sitting empty.
  • The Top 5 metropolitan areas with the lowest vacancy rates did not rank within the previous 5 years.
  • Houston, Texas has a 10.9% rental vacancy rate, which is the highest vacancy rate among major cities where the population exceeds 1 million.
  • In major cities where the vacancy rate increased, the average 12-month increase is 31.5%.
  • In major cities with decreased vacancy rates, the average 12-month decrease is 14.1%
Lowest Metropolitan Rental Vacancy Rates
Rank Metropolitan Area Vacancy Rate Change from 2019
1 Richmond, VA 0.5% -95%
2 Rochester, NY 1.2% -87%
3 Fresno, CA 1.9% -73%
4 Raleigh, NC 2.6% -71%
5 Louisville, KY 2.7% -69%
6 Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY 2.8% 0%
7 Allentown-Bethlehem, PA 2.9%
8 Grand Rapids, MI 3.0% +7.1%
9 Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN 3.1% +55%
10 Akron, OH 3.3% -18%

Unit Rental Vacancy Rates

Certain types of buildings or rental unit structures are more likely to have high vacancy rates. Highrise structures with many small units built after March 2010 are the most likely to have high rental vacancy rates.

  • Single family homes have a rental vacancy rate of 4.7%.
  • Efficiencies and 1-bedroom apartments have the highest vacancy rates at 24.1%.
  • Apartments with 5 or more rooms have a vacancy rate of 4.7%.
  • 45.9% of rental vacancies are units with 5 or more rooms.
  • Efficiencies and 1-bedroom apartments make up 4.5% of rental vacancies.
  • Structures of 10 units or more average 9.7% vacancy; buildings of this type are the most likely to have a high rate of vacancy.
  • 30.8% of rental vacancies are in structures with 10 or more rental units.
  • Structures built after March 2010 have a vacancy rate of 20.1%.
  • 5.1% of vacant rental units are in structures built after March 2010.
  • 17.5% of vacant rental units are in structures built prior to 1940.

Excessive Vacancies

One of the many consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the changes in desirable housing characteristics. Localities expecting continued growth are full of new vacancies, leading some communities to experience excessive rental vacancy rates or “hypervacancy”.

  • A rental vacancy rate of 12% or more is considered “high”; a vacancy rate of 20% or more is hyper-vacancy.
  • With a 23.2% vacancy rate, Charleston, South Carolina is experiencing hypervacancy.
  • Among the Top 10 emptiest cities, 3 have seen vacancies increase by over 100% in the last 12 months.
  • In Sarasota, Florida, vacancies have nearly tripled.
  • In Philadelphia, vacant properties have resulted in $3.6 billion in reduced household wealth.
  • The effect of one vacant property on the block could reduce the value of nearby properties by 20% or more.
Highest Metropolitan Vacancy Rates
Rank Metropolitan Area Vacancy Rate Change from 2019
1 Charleston-Summerville, SC 23.2% +41%
2 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 19.5% +28%
3 Sarasota, FL 19.4% +190%
4 Syracuse, NY 14.9% +26%
5 Tucson, AZ 13.8% +38%
6 Birmingham, AL 13.4% +103%
7 New Haven, CT 12.9% -3.0%
8 Pittsburgh, PA 11.8% +103%
9 Indianapolis, IN 11.0% +53%
10 Cincinnati, OH 10.9% -1.8%

Historical Rental Vacancy

While the national vacancy rate is just 8.5% higher than it was in 1956, the market has seen volatile changes in the past decade alone.

  • From 2010 to 2020, rental vacancy rates declined 39.6% or at an annual rate of 3.96%.
  • The steepest decline in rental vacancy was between 1965 and 1971, when rates declined 37.6% or at an annual rate of 6.27%.
  • The steepest incline in rental vacancy was between 1957 and 1961, when rates increased 68.9% or at an annual rate of 17%.
  • 1978 to 1988, rental vacancy rates rose 60%, or at an annual rate of 6%
  • From 2000 to 2004, vacancy rates rose 31.6% or annual rate of 7.9%.
  • From 2005 to 2010, housing vacancies overall increased 26.3%.

Line Graph: Rental Vacancy Rates in the U.S. 1956-2020, Percent, Not Seasonally Adjusted

Rent Prices & Vacancy Rates

As a general rule, rent prices increase as vacancy rates decrease. As empty units diminish, finding an apartment becomes more difficult, and property owners are able to ask for higher prices.

  • The median asking rent for vacant units is $1,160 nationwide.
  • The average renter pays $1,149 monthly.
  • The median rent paid is $909 monthly.
  • Units that rent for less than $350 have the lowest vacancy rates at 1.9%.
  • Units with monthly rent prices of $2,000 or more have a 10.7% vacancy rate, a 20% increase in vacancy from 2019.
  • According to Zillow’s methodology, typical rent prices run as high as $1,750.
  • 54.2% of American renters pay less than $1,000 in monthly rent.
  • 3.7% pay $3,000 or more in monthly rent.
  • In 80% of U.S. counties, the average full-time worker cannot afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment.

Bar Graph: Rental Vacancy Rates by Monthly Rent Prices

Vacancy vs. Availability & Affordability

A vacant apartment is not necessarily available, and those that are available are not necessarily affordable.

  • 27.4% of all vacant homes are available for rent.
  • 57.8% of vacant housing units are being held off-market.
  • 8.6% of vacant homes are for sale only while 8.4% have already rented or sold.
  • United States National Housing Act of 1937’s 1981 revision established the “30% Rule” – i.e., housing costs should not exceed 30% of renter income.
  • According to the 30% Rule, there are 37 affordable homes for every 100 low-income renters.
  • The median rent burden for millennials, the most significant renter segment in most regions, is 45%.
  • Households who spend more than 50% of their income on housing are considered to be severely cost-burdened.

Pie Chart: Vacant Housing Inventory

Housing Vacancies

Owner-occupied homes see lower vacancy rates on average than rentals do. The current homeowner vacancy rate is 0.9%.

  • In the past decade, housing vacancies have declined at an average annual rate of 6.4%.
  • Housing vacancies have declined 67.9% since their historic high point in 2008.
  • The national rate of homeownership is 67.4%.
  • The rate of homeownership increased 4% over 12 months from 2019 to 2020.
  • The Midwest has the highest rate of homeownership at 71.2%.

Seasonal Vacancies

Seasonal vacancies are irrelevant for most of this report. It’s not uncommon, however, for landlords in some communities to turn their traditional rental properties into Airbnbs. The trend reversed with travel restrictions in 2020.

  • Reservations on hotel booking sites fell 90% in 10 months.
  • Usership on hotel booking and reservation sites is down 42%.
  • 34% of vacation homes are in the suburbs.
  • 33% of vacation home properties are on a beach.
  • 19% are in urban areas or cities.
  • 15% are in the countryside.

Sources

  1. United States Census Bureau (Census), Housing Vacancies and Homeownership
  2. Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, America’s Rental Housing 2020
  3. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), National Housing Market Summary
  4. HUD, Rental Burdens: Rethinking Affordability Measures
  5. Elliman Report October 2020, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens Rentals
  6. Freddie Mac Multifamily Research Center, 2020 Midyear Outlook
  7. Bloomberg CityLab, The Disturbing Rise of Housing Vacancy in US Cities
  8. The Empty House Next Door: Understanding and Reducing Vacancy and Hypervacancy in the United States
  9. Zillow, October 2020 Market Report & Weekly Market Data (Through Nov. 14)
  10. Travel Daily News, Vacation Rental Revenues Halved Amid COVID-19 Crisis, Entire Industry to Lose $35B in 2020