The number of vacant homes has reached 24,000 in the Sacramento six-county area, up 40% from one year ago as determined by statistics kept by the U.S. Postal Service on uncollected mail. Time spent vacant is also rising: 2.8% of all residential addresses in the Sacramento area have been unoccupied for over 90 days. The only major metropolitan area in California with a higher vacancy rate is Riverside with 4.1% of all types of residences unoccupied and not receiving mail during the past three months.

ft take: Brokers and agents need to understand that these sort of statistics will get worse well into 2010 as we have at least 18 months of continuing decline in the number of employed families in California to go. Brokers and agents also need to understand this trend is normal for a recession and they cannot be concerned by fussing about cyclical trends. What this vacancy situation does portend is that landlords and sellers best be given the message by brokers and agents that the tenants and buyers will return only after there is a drop in the price of all types of housing. Lower prices and rents will attract occupants from the more expensive areas nearer the coast, which in turn will bring not only residential tenants but industrial, office and retail services filling up the now increasing vacancies in nonresidential properties throughout inland areas.

The coastal communities will then take a big hit on the prices they can charge for all types of real estate, for rent and for sale. It is the push of the cost-conscious tide of people moving for cheaper housing, and we shall soon see an ebb away from coastal regions in favor of lower inland pricing. In a few years the flow should reverse as prices rise in the inland areas, but only if the price of shelter drops along the coast. All this is no different than in the early 80s and again in the early-to-mid 90s, except for the magnitude of the migration.

Re: “Almost 24,000 homes, apartments vacant in Sacramento area” from the Sacramento Bee