Housing
Vacant Housing Units


Vacant Housing Units

What does this measure?

The percentage of residential housing units that are unoccupied or vacant.

Why is this important?

A high rate of vacancies can indicate that an area is blighted or in decline, but it can also indicate a high number of vacation or seasonal homes, or an area with a lot of new construction where new owners have not yet moved in.

How is our county performing?

In 2013-17, 7% of residential housing units in Berks County were vacant, or about 12,500 of 166,400 units. This was less than Pennsylvania (11%) and the nation (12%). Berks County's vacancy rate was fairly stable from 2000 to 2013-17, while there were slight increases at the state (2 percentage points) and national (3 percentage points) levels. The Central region of the county had the highest vacancy rate, at 12%, while other regions had 6% or less. In the City of Reading, 15% of housing units were vacant, up 3 percentage points from 2000.

Among neighboring counties, Schuylkill had the highest percentage of vacancies (16%). Others were lower than Berks, including Chester, Lancaster and Lehigh (all at 5%), 6% in Montgomery and 7% in Lebanon. Schuylkill's vacancy rate was up 5 percentage points from 2000.

Notes about the data

For additional detail as to how the Berks County regions are defined and which boroughs and townships are included in each, see the About Us page.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census.

Vacant Housing Units
20002008-122013-17
Pennsylvania9%11%11%
Berks County6%6%7%
Berks County Regions
Central10%11%12%
Northeast4%5%*6%
South3%4%5%
Southeast3%4%*5%*
West5%5%6%
Reading city12%13%15%
Berks County Peers
Chester County4%4%5%
Lancaster County4%5%5%
Lebanon County6%6%7%
Lehigh County5%6%5%
Montgomery County4%5%6%
Schuylkill County11%13%16%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.




Number of Vacancies
20002008-122013-17
Pennsylvania472,747604,199646,157
Berks County8,65210,60612,474
Berks County Regions
Central4,6405,3385,842
Northeast8901,352*1,585
South1,3041,7542,397
Southeast632876*1,090*
West1,1371,2861,582
Reading city4,2014,7284,930
Berks County Peers
Chester County5,8688,4649,306
Lancaster County7,4309,49410,186
Lebanon County2,7693,3224,160
Lehigh County7,0049,0757,857
Montgomery County11,33617,18618,295
Schuylkill County7,2769,21210,979

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.




INDICATORS TREND | BERKS COUNTY