Here’s a number that will make anyone trying to find a place to live in San Francisco frustrated: An estimated 100,025 households are sitting vacant.
The number comes from a study released this week by LendingTree, an online service connecting consumers with lenders and banks. The company based in Charlotte, N.C., looked at the vacancy rates in the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, revealing some interesting findings.
Compared to other cities, San Francisco metro area’s vacancy rate is actually low at 5.6 percent. Of the 1.784 million households, roughly 1.684 million are occupied. LendingTree concludes a region like San Francisco – which includes Oakland, Hayward and surrounding areas – is what’s considered a sellers’ market, meaning people selling their homes will easily find buyers, while future homeowners will struggle to buy. Anyone who has tried to buy a home in the city in the last decade knows this to be true.
By comparison, cities in Florida had the highest vacancy rates. In Miami alone, there are some 428,000 empty houses and the city’s vacancy rate is 17 percent. It’s 16 percent in Orlando and 15 percent in Tampa. LendingTree researchers explain Florida is a popular destination for secondary residences and often these remain used for most of the year.
Like S.F., San Jose had one of the lowest vacancy rates at 4.26 percent and the study says this is the result of a thriving job market and an influx of millennial homebuyers. San Francisco’s vacancy rate is low for similar reasons.
But while the Bay Area’s low number of vacant homes might be a sign of a healthy economy, anyone living in here might agree that even a low vacancy rate is unacceptable in a region where the housing stock is small compared to the number of people who want to live here, driving rental and home prices to some of the highest in the country.
LendingTree pulled data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey to conduct its study.