Housing
Vacant Housing Units


Vacant Housing Units

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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 2014-18, 7% of residential housing units in Berks County were vacant, or about 12,300 of 166,800 units. This was less than Pennsylvania (11%) and the nation (12%). Berks County's vacancy rate was fairly stable from 2000 to 2014-18, 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, 14% of housing units were vacant, up 2 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
20002009-132014-18
United States9%12%12%
Pennsylvania9%11%11%
Berks County6%7%7%
Berks County Regions
Central10%11%12%
Northeast4%5%*6%
South3%4%5%
Southeast3%3%*5%*
West5%6%6%
Reading city12%13%14%
Berks County Peers
Chester County4%4%5%
Lancaster County4%5%5%
Lebanon County6%6%7%
Lehigh County5%7%5%
Montgomery County4%6%6%
Schuylkill County11%14%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
20002009-132014-18
United States10,424,54016,447,58816,654,164
Pennsylvania472,747607,226648,467
Berks County8,65210,72012,301
Berks County Regions
Central4,6405,4805,801
Northeast8901,333*1,625
South1,3041,8592,188
Southeast632691*1,165*
West1,1371,3571,547
Reading city4,2014,7214,851
Berks County Peers
Chester County5,8688,2989,458
Lancaster County7,4309,5919,981
Lebanon County2,7693,6024,055
Lehigh County7,0049,3927,581
Montgomery County11,33618,22418,682
Schuylkill County7,2769,48911,071

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
Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Maintaining
Change in Population by Age and Gender Not Applicable
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households by type Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Seniors Living Alone Decreasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Decreasing
Change in Labor Force Decreasing
Employment to Population ratio Decreasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving County/Region for Work Not Applicable
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Maintaining
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Brain Drain/Gain Maintaining
Plans of High School Graduates Not Applicable
Enrollment in Local Colleges Decreasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
People Receiving Supplemental Security Income Increasing
Health Status Not Applicable
People Enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Students in K-6 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Cost of Homeownership Maintaining
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent Increasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Family Home Sales Increasing
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Maintaining
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Decreasing
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Contributions as a Percentage of Income Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Maintaining
Toxic Chemical Releases Decreasing
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing