The data on vacancy status were obtained only for a sample of cases in the computer-assisted personal interview (known as "CAPI") follow-up by field representatives. Data on vacancy status were obtained at the time of the personal visit. Vacancy status and other characteristics of vacant units were determined by field representatives obtaining information from landlords, owners, neighbors, rental agents, and others.
Vacancy status has long been used as a basic indicator of the housing market and provides information on the stability and quality of housing for certain areas. The data is used to assess the demand for housing, to identify housing turnover within areas, and to better understand the population within the housing market over time. These data also serve to aid in the development of housing programs to meet the needs of persons at different economic levels.
Vacant units are subdivided according to their housing market classification as follows:
For Rent - These are vacant units offered "for rent," and vacant units offered either "for rent" or "for sale."
Rented, Not Occupied - These are vacant units rented but not yet occupied, including units where money has been paid or agreed upon, but the renter has not yet moved in.
For Sale Only - These are vacant units being offered "for sale only," including units in cooperatives and condominium projects if the individual units are offered "for sale only." If units are offered either "for rent" or "for sale" they are included in the "for rent" classification.
Sold, Not Occupied - These are vacant units sold but not yet occupied, including units that have been sold recently, but the new owner has not yet moved in.
For Seasonal, Recreational, or Occasional Use - These are vacant units used or intended for use only in certain seasons or for weekends or other occasional use throughout the year. Seasonal units include those used for summer or winter sports or recreation, such as beach cottages and hunting cabins. Seasonal units also may include quarters for such workers as herders and loggers. Interval ownership units, sometimes called shared-ownership or timesharing condominiums, also are included here.
For Migrant Workers - These include vacant units intended for occupancy by migratory workers employed in farm work during the crop season. (Work in a cannery, a freezer plant, or a food-processing plant is not farm work.)
Other Vacant - If a vacant unit does not fall into any of the categories specified above, it is classified as "Other vacant." For example, this category includes units held for occupancy by a caretaker or janitor, and units held for personal reasons of the owner.
Homeowner Vacancy Rate - The homeowner vacancy rate is the proportion of the homeowner inventory that is vacant "for sale." It is computed by dividing the number of vacant units "for sale only" by the sum of the owner-occupied units, vacant units that are "for sale only," and vacant units that have been sold but not yet occupied, and then multiplying by 100. This measure is rounded to the nearest tenth.
Rental Vacancy Rate - The rental vacancy rate is the proportion of the rental inventory that is vacant "for rent." It is computed by dividing the number of vacant units "for rent" by the sum of the renter-occupied units, vacant units that are "for rent," and vacant units that have been rented but not yet occupied, and then multiplying by 100. This measure is rounded to the nearest tenth.
Available Housing Vacancy Rate - The proportion of the housing inventory that is vacant- for-sale only and vacant-for-rent. It is computed by dividing the sum of vacant-for-sale only housing units and vacant-for-rent housing units, by the sum of occupied units, vacant-for-sale only housing units, vacant-sold-not occupied housing units, vacant-for-rent housing units, and vacant-rented-not-occupied housing units, and then multiplying by 100. This measure is rounded to the nearest tenth.
Question/Concept History - The 1996-2004 American Community Survey and Census 2000 used a single vacancy status category for units that were either "Rented or sold, not occupied." Since the 2005 ACS, there have been two separate categories, "Rented, not occupied" and "Sold, not occupied." This change created consistency among the ACS, the Housing Vacancy Survey, and the 2010 Census vacancy status response options. The revised categories were incorporated in the calculations of the rental vacancy rate and the homeowner vacancy rate.
Comparability - Caution should be used when comparing vacancy status data between the American Community Survey and Census 2000. The tabulation category "Rented or sold, not occupied" in Census 2000 is separated into the two categories "Rented, not occupied" and "Sold, not occupied" in the ACS.