Friday, March 21, 2008 | 11:13 a.m.
The U.S. Census Bureau recently came out with its 2007 home vacancy rate data, and the Wall Street Journal has created a nifty map that makes it easy to compare Las Vegas with other parts of the country.
It's become fairly normal for Las Vegas to show up near the top of these housing economic charts, and there it is again: Las Vegas had the third highest homeowner vacancy rate in the country, at 4.9 percent. It jumped up from 2.8 percent the year before. The national homeowner vacancy rate in 2007 was 2.7 percent.
Vacancy sees no sign of going down as home sales numbers here continue to plummet and foreclosure is still on the rise. Homebuilders are waiting for home sales to start increasing again before they get into gear, said Dennis Smith of Home Builders Research. He wasn't willing to venture a prediction on when that might be.
Other census data shows that the rental vacancy rate here rose from 9.6 to 10.9 percent. The national rate is 9.8 percent. About half of the top 75 metropolitan areas have rental vacancy rates higher than Las Vegas.