Connecting state and local government leaders
Census Bureau data released last Thursday show the proportion of unoccupied rental housing during 2015 in 75 major metro regions in the U.S.
Rental housing markets in and around Portland, Oregon, San Jose, California and Los Angeles were tight late last year compared to the nation's other most heavily populated metropolitan areas, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released last Thursday.
The data show rental vacancy rates in late 2015 for the 75 largest U.S. "metropolitan statistical areas"—a designation that refers to places with at least one urbanized area that has a population of 50,000 people or more. Many of the areas cover more than one city, and some include places in more than one state.
In the chart below, each of the 75 areas is ranked according to its estimated rental vacancy rate in the fourth quarter of 2015. The rental vacancy rate is the percent of the rental inventory in a place that is vacant for rent. So, in other words, in the places at the top of the chart a smaller proportion of the rental housing was unoccupied and available to rent.
Also shown are vacancy rates from the first quarter of last year, and the change in the rates from the first quarter to the fourth quarter.
National rental housing vacancy rates in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2015 were 7 percent, more or less unchanged from the nationwide rate in the fourth quarter of 2014, the Census Bureau said.
The area at the top of the vacancy chart that includes Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, Pennsylvania is located about 50 miles north of Philadelphia, just west of the New Jersey state line. The Census Bureau estimated that it had a population of 829,835 in 2014.
A glimpse at how rental prices look in some of the places with the highest and lowest vacancy rates can be found in the chart below. It shows rental list prices for one-bedroom apartments in 146 metropolitan regions, as of last December. The figures in the chart are from the real estate data firm Zillow's rent index.
All of the data from last Thursday's Census Bureau release, which also included home ownership figures, can be found here.
Bill Lucia is a News Editor at Government Executive's Route Fifty.