16 million homes sit empty across the country with Florida having more vacant houses than any other state, according to a new study from LendingTree.
In the study, the online lending marketplace analyzed the latest U.S. Census Bureau data to rank the nation’s 50 states by their shares of unoccupied homes. Florida took the top spot on the list, with LendingTree reporting that nearly 1.7 million homes in the Sunshine State remain vacant. Florida outpaced states like California and Texas, with New York rounding out the top four.
Florida also ranked high among the share of unoccupied homes, holding the sixth-largest percentage of vacant units. With a 17.13% vacancy rate, only Vermont, Maine, Alaska, West Virginia, and Alabama have a higher percentage total. Nationally, the vacancy rate sits at 11.66%.
The rise in vacant homes comes as housing prices continue to skyrocket alongside rental prices. Notably, Florida has been at the forefront of the nationwide housing crisis that has been brewing since the start of the pandemic.
Explored in a previous commentary by Florida Taxwatch, housing prices spiked statewide in 2021, pricing out many would-be first-time homebuyers who turned to rental properties. The perfect storm of demand and rising rental prices in the spring and summer of 2021 resulted in upward price pressure on Florida’s rental markets.
FTW also noted in a report last week, which analyzed the accelerated demand for rental properties in Florida driving up the prices since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, that without affordable, feasible housing options, rental property shortages could persist, resulting in industry sectors losing younger, lower-income workers crucial to Florida’s post-pandemic resurgence.
“While Florida is known for its robust job creation and low-tax environment, affordable housing is understandably a major concern for many, and it threatens to undermine the state’s continued economic recovery and ultimate success. Leaders and decisionmakers should heed this warning and adapt as appropriate to ensure all who call – and hope to call – the Sunshine State ‘home’ can thrive here,” FTW said in its analysis.