by John Galt
October 30, 2009
Even though the Bubblemedia might have you believe that all is improving with the housing market, unless there’s a whole lotta birthin’ going on, we’re in some serious trouble with 18, 843, 000 vacant homes per the latest Census Bureau Report for Q3 2009(PDF File). As you can see below, the raw numbers do not look that bad at first glance:
That chart, for those who wonder is direct from the report. When you start to review the historical data back to 2000 though, you get a better picture of the condition of our housing markets and realize that this will take years to dig through the inventory, even if we stopped building tomorrow. In the graph below, I decided to post the quarterly data along with the Census Bureau’s category for “Held Off Market” which is a subset of the massive vacant inventory number:
With the Cash for Clunk Houses tax credit soon to expire, a wee bit more of the inventory was put on the market but as you can see, the total number still being held is at a historic high and with the demographics of a retiring population, unless these homes are in prime retiree regions (which some are by the way) and affordable and less than the 2900 square foot McMansions than they will not move. Unless the economic “expansion” gets real and creates millions of new jobs soon, this number will continue to grow and act like an anchor on our economy, creating such a drastic drag that the statistical recovery will be dragged into a prolonged period of flat to negative GDP for many years to come.