The “real estate” vacancy rate considers only vacant housing units that are for rent, for sale, or rented or sold but not yet occupied. In Arizona, this rate has been consistently higher than the national average since 2005, with the differential broadening through 2010. Real estate vacancy rates increased between 2005 and 2009 but the rates dropped in each of the three succeeding years, nationally and in Arizona. Little change occurred in 2013, when Arizona’s rate was 6.0 percent, compared to 4.3 percent nationally.
The overall vacancy rate reported by the Census Bureau includes the real estate vacancy rate plus units held for seasonal, recreational or occasional use plus units held vacant for other reasons. The real estate vacancy rate accounts for considerably less than half of the overall vacancy rate, nationally and in Arizona. Excluding the real estate vacancy rate, the vacancy rate rose considerably between 2005 and 2008 and has continued to climb since then nationally and in Arizona. Arizona’s percentage of housing units held for seasonal, recreational, occasional or other use in 2013 was 11.0 percent, higher than the national average of 8.1 percent.