Real Estate Investing

States with the most rental vacancies in 2022

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Ashleigh on Jan 12, 2023

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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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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%


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#9. Iowa


Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 7.8%


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#7. Minnesota


Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 7.9%

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#8. Mississippi


Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 7.9%


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#6. Washington DC


Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 8.2%


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#5. Oklahoma


Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 8.3%


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#4. Indiana


Average 2022 rental vacancy rate through September: 8.7%


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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%


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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 NJ.com and The Star-Ledger.