Vacant Housing Units

Vacant Housing Units

Click on arrows to view legend. click a point on the map to view data. Zoom in (+ sign) to view localities and census tracts.

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 2015-19, 7% of residential housing units in Berks County were vacant, or about 12,400 of 167,100 units. This was less than Pennsylvania (11%) and the nation (12%). Berks County's vacancy rate was fairly stable from 2000 to 2015-19, 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 7% 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, Lehigh and Montgomery (all at 4-5%) 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
United States9%12%12%
Berks County6%7%7%
Berks County Regions
Reading city12%14%14%
Berks County Peers
Chester County4%5%5%
Lancaster County4%5%4%
Lebanon County6%7%7%
Lehigh County5%7%5%
Montgomery County4%6%5%
Schuylkill County11%15%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
United States10,424,54016,529,94116,672,938
Berks County8,65210,96512,393
Berks County Regions
Reading city4,2014,8154,558
Berks County Peers
Chester County5,8688,7899,422
Lancaster County7,43010,2699,365
Lebanon County2,7694,0504,030
Lehigh County7,0049,3987,431
Montgomery County11,33618,57518,181
Schuylkill County7,27610,11011,121

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%.

Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in K-6 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
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 Maintaining
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Increasing
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
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
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
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