Atlanta Ranked As Third Most Vacant City In US

Atlanta Third Most Vacant City In USWe don’t typically use vacancy as a measure in the residential real estate market.  That term is more common in commercial real estate or the hotel industry.  Having been a hotelier for 15 years, I get flashbacks when I start to hear about vacancy rate and unoccupied rooms (or homes).

According to an article at Forbes.com, Atlanta ranks third behind Las Vegas and Detroit.  Not exactly the company we are striving to be associated with.  According to the article, the national rental vacancy rate is 10.1% up from 9.6% a year ago; while homeowner vacancy is up from 2.8% to 2.9%.  Still, these trends are not good as empty houses can have an impact on the surrounding homes and areas.

Vacant houses usually suffer from lack of care.  Tell-tale signs include unmowed lawns, newspapers laying in driveways, overstuffed mailboxes, peeling paint, etc.  In the case of a rental property, it is less likely to happen if the owner is trying to rent it.  Unless the owner has abandoned the house, they will maintain it so it shows well and can be rented.  However, in the case of a home vacated by the owner, it is less likely to be maintained if they have no intention of coming back.  In that case, once it goes into foreclosure, the bank should assign someone to manage and market the property.  However, that doesn’t maintenance will happen but at least you have a person to contact and deal with.

As the property deteriorates, needless to say, it will make the homes around it less attractive to perspective buyers which may eventually cause home values to drop.  It’s important that neighbors keep a careful watch on vacant homes and even help out in keeping up appearances if needed.  If the house is abandoned, no one will complain if you cut the lawn or pick up the newspapers.  If it’s listed with a broker, call them to make sure they have a plan in place to keep the exterior looking good and consistent with the neighborhood.  In the end, we are all in the same boat.

15 Most Vacant Cities (per Census Bureau)

Rental Vacancy %                            Home Vacancy %

  1. Las Vegas                               16.0                                                  4.7

  2. Detroit                                    19.9                                                   4.0

  3. Atlanta                                   16.1                                                    4.3

  4. Greensboro, NC                 15.0                                                    5.9

  5. Dayton                                    21.7                                                   3.6

  6. Phoenix                                  19.0                                                  3.6

  7. Orlando                                  12.3                                                   7.3

  8. Kansas City                          15.2                                                   3.6

  9. Indianapolis (tied with #10)    17.1                                         3.2

  10. Jacksonville                           14.7                                                 3.6

  11. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale        13.1                                                 3.6

  12. Chicago                                     11.8                                                 3.7

  13. Tampa                                       15.6                                                 3.0

  14. Bakersfield, CA                      14.7                                                 3.1

  15. Charlotte (tied with #16)    14.7                                                3.0

  16. Cincinnati                                  9.8                                                 4.3