Kathleen M. Howley
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) — About 18.8 million homes stood empty in the U.S. during the third quarter as banks seized properties from delinquent borrowers and new home sales fell in September.
The number of vacant properties, including foreclosures, residences for sale and vacation homes, rose from 18.4 million a year earlier and 18.7 million in the second quarter, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report today. The record high was in the first quarter, when 18.95 million homes were vacant. The homeownership rate, meaning households that own their own residence, stood at 67.6 percent.
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The worst U.S. housing crash since the Great Depression has led to a record number of foreclosures and shaved almost a third off property values. The S&P/Case-Shiller Index of 20 cities in August was 29 percent below its 2006 high, after rising for four consecutive months.
“We are bumping along the bottom of the housing market,” said James Lockhart, vice chairman of WL Ross & Co. and the former director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. “There is the potential for another swing down.”
This article was posted: Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 9:54 am