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 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
United States9%12%12%
Berks County6%7%7%
Berks County Regions
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
United States10,424,54016,447,58816,654,164
Berks County8,65210,72012,301
Berks County Regions
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%.

Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Change in Population by Age and Gender Increasing
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Population by Age and Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Decreasing
Change in Labor Force Increasing
Employment to Population ratio Increasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Decreasing
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving County/Region for Work Increasing
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Quality Early Childhood Centers Not Applicable
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
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 English Decreasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 Math Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 English Decreasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Decreasing
Student Performance on High School English Decreasing
Student Performance on High School Math Maintaining
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Plans of High School Graduates Decreasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Maintaining
Living Wage Maintaining
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance 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 Increasing
Students in K-6 Overweight or Obese Increasing
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Maintaining
Housing Affordability for Homeowners by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Age of Housing Stock Decreasing
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
Dams Not Applicable
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing