The U.S. homeownership rate at the end of 2011 was 66%, marking the seventh consecutive year of decline since the fourth-quarter 2004 peak of 69.2%, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The fourth-quarter homeowner vacancy rate was 2.3%, 0.1% down from the third quarter and 0.4% below the fourth quarter 2010 rate.
Approximately 86.1% of U.S. housing units were occupied and 13.9% were vacant in the fourth quarter. Owner-occupied housing units made up 56.9% of total housing units, and renter-occupied units made up 29.3% of the inventory. Vacant year-round units comprised 10.5% of total housing units, while 3.4% were for seasonal use.
The national vacancy rate for rental housing was 9.4% in the fourth quarter, which was nearly identical to the third quarter and the fourth quarter of 2010.
In the fourth quarter the median asking sales price for vacant for sale units was $133,800 and the median asking price for vacant rental units was $712.