Empty homes a California rarity as vacancies at 13-year low

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From Hollywood dreams to Silicon Valley start-ups; from Napa Valley vineyards to miles of free beaches, California is one of the most beautiful and livable places in America. Whether you’re climbing the corporate ladder or El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, The Golden State is the place for you. One challenge folks shopping for California housing face is the rarity of a vacant home.

The U.S. Census Bureau tracking of the empty-but-owned homes found that 1 percent of ownership residences were vacant in California in 2017, the lowest since 2004 and the fifth-lowest rate nationally. That tied the statewide rate for 2016, which was No. 4 among the states.

California’s vacancy rate tied Massachusetts. Vacancies were only lower in Colorado, Rhode Island, Washington and Michigan. By the way, 1.6 percent of homes across the U.S. were vacant last year, down from 1.7 percent in 2016 and the lowest rate since 2000.

Owned homes go vacant for many reasons, but a common one is the time it takes to sell a home. Another cause: bank repossessions.

It wasn’t too long ago — in 2008 amid the housing market’s bubble bursting and foreclosure explosion — that California was among the states with high vacancy levels: 3.1 percent. Only 10 states were higher.

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