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O.C. housing vacancies rise 64 percent in 10-year period

2010 Census figures show that 56,126 units were empty last year, up from 34,197 in 2000.

By Kristen SchottPublished: March 10, 2011 11:12 AM

There were 64 percent more vacant housing units in Orange County in 2010 than in 2000, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau – and one local industry exec said that can be attributed to job loss and affordability.

Of the county's 1.05 million housing units (including all types) 56,126, or 5.4 percent, were vacant in 2010. That compares to 2000, when there were 34,197 empty homes, or 3.5 percent of the 969,484 total units.

"It’s no secret that the housing market in the last decade was compromised by falsely inflated and unsustainable pricing due, in large part, to reckless lending practices and the subprime schemes pouring out of Wall Street," said Building Industry Association of Orange County CEO Bryan Starr. "Pricing has corrected and affordability seems to be improving; however, the major factors here are job losses and the unemployment rate."

He added that the region also has seen a "trend" of adult children moving back in with their families due to the economic situation.

Looking ahead, Starr expects local economic growth and recovery to lead to greater occupancy levels.

"Job creation in Orange County is showing signs of life," he said. “As a result, 2011 continues to produce positive absorption rates in both new-home sales and multifamily rentals throughout Orange County. We expect this positive trend to continue, as our local economy improves."

Here's how some of the other numbers shake out:

• Anaheim had the highest number of vacant spaces, with 5,943 empty homes out of its 98,294 units. Next up was Newport Beach, with 5,442 vacancies out of 38,751 and Irvine with 4,921. The city had a total of 78,978 units.
• Villa Park had 40 vacancies out of its 1,976 units.
• There were 992,781 occupied homes in Orange County in 2010, up about 6.1 percent from 935,287 in 2000.
• The total housing units – occupied and unoccupied – grew 8.2 percent in the 10-year period, according to the stats.

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