Vacant properties have increased by 43.8 percent nationwide since 2000, according to the Census Bureau. Homes can be vacant for many reasons, but are defined by the bureau as both unoccupied rental inventory as well as homes that are unoccupied and “for sale.” As of 2011, there were about 14.3 million year-round vacant housing units in the country, with a 10.6 percent gross vacancy rate that excludes seasonal vacancies such as vacation homes.
Earlier this year, the Cleveland Federal Reserve analyzed the impact of foreclosed and vacant homes on the surrounding communities. The study found that a vacant or tax-delinquent house decreases the value of nearby homes by at least 1.3 percent, thanks to poor maintenance, and making the neighborhood appear less desirable.
This effect is amplified in higher-income neighborhoods where a vacancy or foreclosure has a negative price impact of 4.6 percent.
CNBC compiled a slideshow of the 10 emptiest U.S. cities, which you can find here. Some of these will surprise you.