The fourth-quarter homeowner vacancy rate increased by .1 percentage point to 2.9 percent from the same period of 2007, the government said Tuesday. Here's what economists at Goldman Sachs said about the figures in a report of their own.
Homeowner vacancy rates remain very elevated, which is quite bad news for the housing market…The increase puts the homeowner vacancy rate at the top end of the range they have been in since the end of 2006. At over a percentage point above the average vacancy rate before the housing bubble, this corresponds to an excess supply of over a million homes. Moreover, the slight increase from the third to the fourth quarter means that there is no sign that reduced homebuilding has started to work off that excess supply, a prerequisite for stabilization in the housing market. We expect the excess supply to continue to put downward pressure on house prices over 2009.