Real Estate Investing

States with the most rental vacancies in 2022

Written By Ashleigh Graf

Last Updated Jan 10, 2023

An image of a single-family home with a "for rent" signpost in the yard

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Rental vacancies in the U.S. are at their lowest rate since 1984. Using quarterly Census data, Belong assembled a breakdown of vacancies by state.  

Finding a new place to rent is harder now than it's been since 1984.

The U.S. rental vacancy rate stood at 5.8% through the third quarter of 2022—the latest data available, according to the Census Bureau. Housing hasn't been this scarce in nearly 40 years.

Meanwhile, the cost of renting has increased dramatically: The median cost for available units reached $2,000 for the first time in May 2022, according to a report from Redfin. One of the biggest reasons for the increase is the corresponding growth in the cost to buy a home.

Belong calculated the average rental vacancy rates by state, with third-quarter vacancy data used to break ties.

Higher-income families are now choosing to rent at a higher rate than in previous years. Between 2009 and 2019, the number of families making $75,000 or more that chose to rent rose 48%, according to a report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The increased cost of homeownership is just one reason for the change, the report says, as some households are choosing to rent because of the increase in "amenity-rich rental units in desirable locations."

In areas such as the Sun Belt, the rise in remote work brought more residents seeking lower housing costs and better weather, especially in metro areas and their suburbs.

A Rent analysis from the second quarter of 2022 found more renters were interested in moving to the Midwest or the South than they were in the West or Northeast. Part of that is likely the cost of rent, the analysis found, with many of the most expensive rental cities in the Northeast and West.


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A purple and white graph depicting the US, highlighting rental vacancy by state


Midwestern, Southern states have the highest rental vacancies

The Sun Belt and the Midwest have more rentals available than the Northeast and West, according to data from the Census Bureau. Several major metropolitan areas in the Sun Belt led the pack in multifamily construction starts in the first quarter of 2022, according to Redfin, including Austin, Texas; Jacksonville, Florida; Orlando, Florida; and San Antonio.

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#10. South Carolina

Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 7.8%

The kitchen of a vacant single-family home

alexandre zveiger // Shutterstock

#9. Iowa

Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 7.8%

A photo of a living area with a grey sofa and dining setting with teal-green chairs, in front of a large window

Enrika Samulionyte // Shutterstock

#7. Minnesota

Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 7.9%

An old home with a signpost that reads "vacation rental"

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#8. Mississippi

Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 7.9%

Moving boxes in a vacant home

Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#6. Washington DC

Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 8.2%


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An old home with a grey chain link fence and bare front yard

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#5. Oklahoma

Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 8.3%

A vacant rental property, showing the kitchen and living areas

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#4. Indiana

Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 8.7%

A vacant home filled with a ladder and paint supplies for renovation

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#3. Kansas

Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 8.8%

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#2. Arkansas

Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 9.6%

A photo of a modern family home surrounded by trees and a garden path, with a "for rent" sign image in the front

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#1. North Dakota

Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 12.3%

About the author

Ashleigh Graf

She is the deputy managing editor of the money desk at Stacker. She specializes in data-based community and investigative reporting. She previously worked at and The Star-Ledger.