Nearly 20% of Florida Homes Are Vacant, Census Bureau Reveals

Welcome to Florida sign
Welcome to Florida sign

Florida can't seem to catch a break these days, especially when it comes to its housing market. First, the news (or not-so-news, if you actually live there) broke that Florida had the highest rate of foreclosures of any state in the union during the last quarter of 2010. And now, in a striking example of it pouring when it rains - even in the Sunshine State, another stunningly bad real estate stat: Nearly 20% of the homes, all homes, in Florida are vacant. Vacant as in no one lives there. At all. When almost 1 in 5 homes in a state are vacant, it gives new, economically dismal meaning to the phrase "no one's home."

This data, revealed by the Census Bureau, shows that 18% of all Florida homes, more than 1.6 million properties to be precise, have fallen into vacancy for one reason or another. To give this some context, this is a 63% increase in vacancies in the last 10 years. These homes largely fall into two categories: new homes that were built, and never sold in the first place, and homes that were once occupied, but have been foreclosed on, followed by the eviction of the homeowners.