Staggering increases in vacancy rates — both for homes and commercial buildings in California— are revealed in a just-issued University of the Pacific economics report.
The university's Business Forecasting Center analyzed U.S. Postal Service data showing buildings where mail hasn't been collected for more than 90 days.
The number of vacant buildings has increased steadily for two years.
In Stanislaus County, 7 percent of commercial buildings were empty two years ago, but vacancies soared to more than 12 percent by last fall. That was a 74 percent increase.
Merced County's commercial vacancies rose 70 percent, and San Joaquin County's rose 59 percent. Nationwide, commercial vacancies increased just 14 percent during that time.
Empty houses also have proliferated the past two years. The number of vacant homes jumped 80 percent in Stanislaus, 93 percent in Merced and 37 percent in San Joaquin, compared with just 1 percent nationwide.
Traditionally, vacancy rates are very low in California, according to the Business Forecasting Center's California and Metro Forecast. As recently as two years ago, they were well below the national average, but have climbed dramatically since.
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