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According to census data, the rental housing vacancy rate remains above 8%. It was 7.2% in 1990 and has inched steadily upward throughout this decade.

Multifamily production (5 or more units) is running at 300,000+ units annual rate. It was down in the high 200k for most of second quarter but rebounded in July and August preliminary numbers, reaching 343k annual rate in August. So, vacancy is up and production is up. Are we worried yet?

These are all national data; aggregation can do funny things. Probably, the excess vacancy is in markets that are not seeing much production and the production is occurring in low-vacancy markets. And of course, the people want to live where they want to live, not necessarily where there are vacancies.

Total housing starts are in the 1.6 - 1.7 million range, also a high figure.

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