Orlando has country’s highest residential vacancy rate

If you want to be Mickey Mouse’s neighbor, now might be a good time.

A new report from real estate data company Clever named Orlando as “the most vacant city in America,” with 15.3% of its housing stock unoccupied.

The Florida city is one of seven U.S. metros with a vacancy rate above that of the country’s 11.6% share, a figure that equates to more than 16 million vacant housing units. This number encompasses both rental units and for-sale homes. Nationwide, 5.8% of rental units are unoccupied, compared to 1.4% of for-sale units, according to Clever data.

Since 1965, the rental vacancy rate has decreased by 32% while the homeowner vacancy rate has dropped by 53%. From 2019 to 2022 — pre-pandemic to the present — the rental vacancy rate fell by 17.1% while the homeowner vacancy rate plunged by a staggering 42.8%.

Clever analyzed the 50 most populous metro areas in the country, finding that four of the seven metros with higher vacancy rates than the country as a whole are in Florida. Miami (14.8% vacancy rate) and Tampa (13.7%) join Orlando in the top three, with Jacksonville (11.9%) in seventh. The other markets with vacancy rates that exceed the national average are Birmingham, Alabama (13.2%); New Orleans (13.1%); and Riverside, California (12.1%).

The least vacant city is Minneapolis, with a vacancy rate of 4.6%.

Narrowing the data set to include only for-sale units, 14 metros have a higher vacancy rate than the U.S. average, with Orlando again topping the list at 3.1%. The list is again peppered with Florida cities, with Tampa (1.9% vacancy rate) and Jacksonville (1.9%) joining Orlando in the top three. Las Vegas (1.8%) and Virginia Beach, Virginia (1.8%), round out the top five.

Twenty cities, meanwhile, have a higher rental vacancy rate than the country as a whole, again led by Orlando at 9.7%. It’s followed by Houston (8.5%), Birmingham (8.1%), Las Vegas (8%) and Memphis (8%).


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