A record 19 million U.S. homes were empty at the end of 2008. Vacant homes in the fourth quarter increased by 6.7 percent year-over-year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. Vacant homes include those available for sale or rent. The vacancy rate — the share of these empty homes that are for sale — rose to 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter, the highest rate in data dating back to 1956.
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