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Confusion with new census data

Source: Burlington Free Press, Feb. 11; Housing Matters Blog, Feb. 11 New Vermont Census data was released last week and the Burlington Free Press did a synopsis on the housing vacancy rates.  They reported that VT has a 20.5 percent vacancy rate. According to Housing Data specialists at the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA),  this rate is skewed way too high as it includes VT’s vacation homes which are unavailable for sale or rent. When you exclude the vacation homes, VT’s vacancy rate is much more accurate at 5.4 percent, compared to the national rate of 10.6 percent. The VHFA blog post went on to say the following: “VT has the lowest statewide rate in the country. Vermont’s homeownership vacancy rate in 2009 was just 1.4 percent — tied with two other states for lowest in the country — compared to the national rate of 2.6 percent. At best, those numbers are considered unhealthy. At worst, they imply a crisis of affordable housing, largely driven by lack of stock.”

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