Money for nothing...and your house empty


One in every nine homes is sitting vacant, according to the U.S. Census, as reported by USA Today. That's a lot of darkened windows.

Get out your calculator and do a little staggering math.

Housing units in the U.S. increased by 8.65 million from 2002 to 2007. During that period, the number of households rose by only 6.7 million. Subtract a half-million homes that were torn down or blown away by hurricanes or other disasters, and that leaves you with an excess of 1.3 million units -- not including vacation homes.

These vacancies produce winners and losers. These days I'm not sure which I am.