Monday, Feb. 16, 2009 | 4:55 p.m.
America's Emptiest Cities, according to Forbes
- 1. Las Vegas
- 2. Detroit
- 3. Atlanta
- 4. Greensboro, N.C.
- 5. Dayton, Ohio
- 6. Phoenix
- 7. Orlando
- 8. Kansas City
- 9. Jacksonville, Fla.; Indianapolis (tied)
Empty and barren are words typically used to describe the desert that surrounds Las Vegas; however, they are now fitting adjectives for the city itself, according to a Forbes Magazine report.
The magazine ranked Las Vegas the No. 1 "emptiest" city in America. Using numbers from the Census Bureau released earlier this month, Forbes compiled data on homeowner and rental vacancy rates for 75 of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. It's the fallout from the housing boom and bust, Forbes said, that has garnered Las Vegas the undesirable title of "most abandoned."
According to Forbes, the national rental vacancy rate now stands at 10.1 percent, which is up from 9.6 percent a year ago; homeowner vacancy has increased from 2.8 percent to 2.9 percent. In Las Vegas, the rates are significantly higher: 16 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Las Vegas edged Detroit, which is suffering from the ailments of the sagging automobile industry.
Las Vegas is plagued by foreclosures and falling real estate values. Last year, the Las Vegas metropolitan area ranked second in the nation for its rate of foreclosures. As prices continue to nosedive, homeowners have found themselves burdened with mortgages on homes worth far less now than what they were purchased for when real estate seemed like a sure bet.
The nation’s bright spot is Honolulu, which had a vacancy rate of 5.8 percent for homes and a meager 0.5 percent for rental units.