Sunday, May 8, 2011

MARKET TRENDS: US home vacancies fall in quarter

The US home vacancy rate, a measure of the share of properties empty and for sale, fell to 2.6 percent in the first quarter as foreclosures slowed amid a lender backlog in processing paperwork.

Tweet Be the first to Tweet this!.ShareThis .The rate, down from 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter, is based on 2 million vacant properties for sale out of 74.5 million residences, the Census Bureau said yesterday. A gauge measuring the share of people who own their homes dropped to 66.4 percent, the lowest since 1998, according to the report.

Property seizures plunged at the end of 2010 as big US lenders temporarily halted proceedings to review their handling of court documents. That left more homes in the foreclosure process with their status unresolved, typically with their owners still in residence. Borrowers in foreclosure were in their homes an average of 537 days in February, according to Lender Processing Services Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla.

US foreclosure filings dropped 27 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to the lowest level since 2008, according to RealtyTrac Inc. of Irvine, Calif.

© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company. Bloomberg News April 28, 2011

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