Cities With the Most Vacant Homes

January 14, 2021 | Team Sundae Team Sundae

Even when real estate is hot, there are places where homes sit on the market for a while. Here are the 50 cities with the most vacant homes.

Despite the continued shutdowns and job loss brought by COVID-19, one segment of the economy that flourished in 2020 was real estate. With interest rates near all-time lows and homes appreciating at a rapid pace, houses sold faster than ever last year and the trend looks to continue in 2021.

In most cities, inventory is depleted and bidding wars are common. Yet in some parts of the country, there are large numbers of vacant homes. While many of these properties are located in tourist-centric regions that tend to have vacancies associated with seasonal vacation homes, there are also some towns with higher-than-average rental vacancy rates, homes that were recently sold but not occupied, or vacant houses that are currently for sale. There are also resort towns that might have a large number of vacant homes, but also have very low rental vacancies and struggle to provide affordable rental housing for their workforce.

Areas that are economically depressed tend to have more vacancies overall, and factors such as unemployment can affect those vacancy rates. Vacancy rates can also impact both home and rental markets, as higher vacancies mean more options for those seeking housing, and can result in lower rents or real estate prices. The average vacancy rate for rentals in the U.S. was about 7%, while the homeowner vacancy rate was about 1.4% as of 2019.

Sundae collected data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, released on Dec. 10, 2020, for the years 2015-2019, to compile a list of cities with the most vacant homes. The list is ranked by the percentage of vacant homes out of all housing units in the city, and ties are broken by the total number of vacant homes. Only cities with at least 5,000 housing units were considered.

Take a look at our list of which cities in the United States have the most vacant homes.

#50. Indian Wells, CA

Note: all city images in this article courtesy of Canva.

– Total vacant homes: 3,004 (52.0% of all housing units)
— For rent: 26 (5.4% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 245 (9.3% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 70
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 2,541
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 122
– Total housing units: 5,782

Located in Southern California’s Coachella Valley, the city of Indian Wells is about 17 miles from the tourist destination of Palm Springs and is recognized as a vacation destination on its own. Many of the homes owned here are second homes that are only occupied during the tourist season. The housing inventory in Indian Wells has decreased by 36% in the last year, with median home prices rising by roughly 33%.

#49. Carolina Beach, NC

– Total vacant homes: 3,131 (52.1% of all housing units)
— For rent: 334 (24.9% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 63 (3.2% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 24
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 2,635
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 75
– Total housing units: 6,007

Carolina Beach sits along the Cape Fear River, and is a popular East Coast vacation spot. With the 2020 pandemic, town officials prohibited short term rentals for properties (since lifted) and shut down beach access, which has contributed to ongoing vacancies.

#48. Kill Devil Hills, NC

– Total vacant homes: 3,454 (52.1% of all housing units)
— For rent: 884 (46.5% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 204 (8.7% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 2,282
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 84
– Total housing units: 6,624

This Outer Banks town a few miles east across the water from Roanoke Island is a popular summer tourist destination. More than 52% of the homes here sit vacant, but of those vacant homes, a good portion is second homes that are only occupied seasonally. According to the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, housing inventory in the area dropped dramatically in 2020, and as a result of such demand, median housing prices in Kill Devil Hills went from $285,000 to $315,000.

#47. Sunny Isles Beach, FL

– Total vacant homes: 11,536 (52.4% of all housing units)
— For rent: 512 (8.7% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 78 (1.5% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 48
— Sold, not occupied: 126
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 10,433
— For migrant workers: 50
— Other vacant homes: 289
– Total housing units: 22,023

This beach community is just 20 miles from Miami, and normally has a large number of seasonal visitors. Vacant houses here consist primarily of seasonal and vacation homes, many of which have remained vacant in the wake of the coronavirus. Before COVID-19 hit, the economy in Sunny Isles had an unemployment rate of just 3.3%.

#46. Four Corners, FL

– Total vacant homes: 16,609 (52.6% of all housing units)
— For rent: 934 (11.4% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 534 (6.2% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 241
— Sold, not occupied: 146
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 14,503
— For migrant workers: 47
— Other vacant homes: 204
– Total housing units: 31,599

Of the more than 31,000 total housing units in the city of Four Corners, an excess of 16,000 of them are vacant. Seasonal and recreational homes account for most of those vacancies, as the town’s proximity to both the Atlantic coast and attractions like Walt Disney World make it a sought-after vacation destination. The housing market in Four Corners remains competitive, with steady appreciation over the last 10 years and a slight increase in the number of homes sold in the last year.

#45. Islamorada, Village of Islands, FL

– Total vacant homes: 3,123 (52.8% of all housing units)
— For rent: 330 (32.9% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 79 (3.5% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 26
— Sold, not occupied: 60
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 2,342
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 286
– Total housing units: 5,915

Part of the Florida Keys, Islamorada, Village of Islands, is a community made up of four islands, encompassing 3,900 acres. Tourism is a big part of the economy, and many of the vacant homes are geared toward seasonal or occasional use. Affordable housing is at a premium here, as home prices increased in 2020 while the number of properties for sale went down. To help offset this, the city offers down payment assistance for home purchases to qualifying individuals.

#44. Marco Island, FL

– Total vacant homes: 10,116 (54.7% of all housing units)
— For rent: 428 (28.4% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 280 (3.6% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 33
— Sold, not occupied: 115
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 9,083
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 177
– Total housing units: 18,495

A small island on Florida’s gulf coast, Marco Island has a total of just over 18,000 housing units, of which more than 10,000 are vacant. Another popular tourist locale, approximately 9,000 of those vacant homes are used seasonally, and about 700 of the other vacancies are homes that are either for rent or for sale. The economy here was stable in 2020, with an unemployment rate of 3.5%, and home values increasing by 6%.

#43. Gulf Shores, AL

– Total vacant homes: 7,253 (55.5% of all housing units)
— For rent: 4,642 (63.4% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 262 (7.5% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 124
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 2,127
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 98
– Total housing units: 13,063

A resort town on the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Shores relies heavily on tourism, with more than 5 million visitors descending on the town in any given year pre-COVID. Right now, of the more than 13,000 housing units in Gulf Shores, more than 7,000 sit vacant, with just over 4,600 of those being vacant rental properties. Housing inventory in the region has increased exponentially in the last year, with an increase in housing prices as well.

#42. Truckee, CA

– Total vacant homes: 7,854 (56.5% of all housing units)
— For rent: 50 (3.3% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 87 (1.8% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 39
— Sold, not occupied: 140
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 7,538
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 0
– Total housing units: 13,904

Located approximately 12 miles from Lake Tahoe, the small town of Truckee has a number of vacant homes, but most of those are owned by people who use them seasonally or recreationally. Like much of the Lake Tahoe area, Truckee’s housing market has been impacted by an influx of urbanites looking to escape the confines of bigger cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles. Inventory is down by more than 70% from last year, and homes are selling within days as opposed to months.

#41. Wailea, HI

– Total vacant homes: 3,573 (57.2% of all housing units)
— For rent: 1,878 (63.8% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 174 (9.7% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 9
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 1,351
— For migrant workers: 51
— Other vacant homes: 110
– Total housing units: 6,242

Wailea, Hawaii, which is part of Maui County, currently has more than 3,500 vacant homes. While some of these are seasonal and recreational properties, nearly 2,000 of those vacant homes are rentals. With much of Hawaii’s economy reliant on tourism, the COVID-19 pandemic has not only added to the number of vacant rentals, it has led to the closure of multiple Maui businesses and restaurants. As a way to begin safely bringing tourists back to the islands, Hawaii implemented new pre-travel testing procedures in October rather than the previously required mandatory quarantine.

#40. Brigantine, NJ

– Total vacant homes: 5,425 (57.2% of all housing units)
— For rent: 60 (5.4% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 129 (4.1% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 16
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 5,127
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 93
– Total housing units: 9,477

Known as “The Island,” this New Jersey beach town is a popular East Coast destination, conveniently located a few minutes from Atlantic City. There are a total of 9,477 housing units in Brigantine, with more than 5,400 homes sitting vacant. Most of those vacancies are houses that belong to seasonal residents and are only used occasionally. The economy here is relatively stable, although unemployment sits at 4.5%, 0.8% higher than the U.S. average. Housing prices have increased by approximately 20% in the last year, while inventory is down by more than 50%.

#39. Laguna Beach, FL

– Total vacant homes: 2,896 (57.3% of all housing units)
— For rent: 216 (25.1% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 128 (7.6% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 43
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 2,461
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 48
– Total housing units: 5,055

Part of Florida’s Panama City metro area, most of Laguna Beach’s vacant homes are used recreationally or seasonally. Panama City and its surrounding areas are popular tourist destinations, with more than 17 million visitors annually. Homes in Laguna Beach have appreciated by approximately 11% in the last year, while housing inventory in the wider Panama City Beach region has decreased by 40%.

#38. Pigeon Forge, TN

– Total vacant homes: 3,164 (57.4% of all housing units)
— For rent: 568 (27.4% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 5 (0.4% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 394
— Sold, not occupied: 39
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 1,976
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 182
– Total housing units: 5,510

Home to entertainer Dolly Parton’s theme park Dollywood, the Smoky Mountain Opry, and other entertainment, Pigeon Forge brings in millions of visitors each year and earns billions in revenue. The economy in Pigeon Forge is stable, with an unemployment rate of just 3.3%—0.4% lower than the U.S. average. Many tourist attractions have remained at least partially open during the COVID-19 pandemic. While there are a number of vacant homes in the area, the bulk is vacation homes only used occasionally.

#37. Daytona Beach Shores, FL

– Total vacant homes: 3,527 (58.1% of all housing units)
— For rent: 298 (28.3% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 117 (5.7% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 78
— Sold, not occupied: 71
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 2,728
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 235
– Total housing units: 6,074

There are more than 6,000 housing units in the Daytona Beach Shores community, and of those, more than 3,500 sit vacant. While most of those vacancies are homes that are used seasonally or recreationally, there are also more than 500 units that are either for rent or for sale. The housing market here has a slightly higher inventory than it did one year ago, but housing prices have also gone up by more than 20%, which may account for the slight rise in inventory.

#36. Destin, FL

– Total vacant homes: 8,022 (58.1% of all housing units)
— For rent: 527 (23.0% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 106 (2.6% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 26
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 7,054
— For migrant workers: 6
— Other vacant homes: 303
– Total housing units: 13,800

Destin is a Florida beach town on the Gulf of Mexico, known for its fishing and for the many golf courses in the area. There is a fairly healthy tourist trade, which explains why of the more than 8,000 vacant homes in the region, over 7,000 of those are used seasonally. Overall, the housing market here is strong, with home prices approximately 30% higher than they were a year ago, and total inventory for single family homes nearly 30% less.

#35. Margate City, NJ

– Total vacant homes: 4,134 (58.5% of all housing units)
— For rent: 27 (4.6% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 50 (2.0% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 5
— Sold, not occupied: 41
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 3,817
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 194
– Total housing units: 7,067

With its proximity to Atlantic City, Margate City is a popular seasonal destination, offering beachfront views, swimming, and fishing. The majority of home vacancies here are those houses used recreationally, and there are minimal homes for sale or rent. Like many parts of the country, Margate City’s housing market has a low inventory, with 60% fewer homes for sale over the past year.

#34. Big Bear City, CA

– Total vacant homes: 7,575 (58.5% of all housing units)
— For rent: 21 (1.1% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 237 (6.4% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 7,097
— For migrant workers: 19
— Other vacant homes: 201
– Total housing units: 12,950

Big Bear City sits on the shores of Big Bear Lake, approximately 45 miles from San Bernardino. There are over 7,500 vacant homes here, but more than 7,000 of those are vacation homes for recreational use. There are minimal homes for sale here, with inventory showing depletion of more than 60% and median listing prices rising by more than 20%.

#33. Sanibel, FL

– Total vacant homes: 5,261 (58.8% of all housing units)
— For rent: 108 (16.8% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 108 (3.3% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 4,955
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 90
– Total housing units: 8,945

This Sanibel Island getaway is located in southwest Florida and is famous for its miles of shell-filled beaches. More than half of the nearly 9,000 housing units here are vacant due to being used seasonally, and there are just over 200 homes that are either for sale or for rent. The economy here has remained stable, with a low unemployment rate of 3.4%, and housing prices have increased slightly. Sanibel has become more of a seller’s market, with inventory down by nearly 50% in the last year, although homes appear to remain on the market longer.

#32. Longboat Key, FL

– Total vacant homes: 5,500 (58.9% of all housing units)
— For rent: 684 (72.5% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 191 (5.0% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 28
— Sold, not occupied: 58
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 4,363
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 176
– Total housing units: 9,338

Longboat Key is a town on Florida’s central west coast, not far from Sarasota. As with many resort towns, a good portion of vacancies come from vacation homes that are only used periodically. The Longboat Key housing market has become tight for buyers in the last year, with listings going up in price by 25% and inventory on single-family homes reduced by more than 60%.

#31. Oak Island, NC

– Total vacant homes: 5,759 (61.1% of all housing units)
— For rent: 266 (29.2% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 272 (8.2% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 10
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 5,113
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 98
– Total housing units: 9,421

Located along the beaches of North Carolina, Oak Island is a popular haven for tourists and seasonal residents, with most of the vacant homes here being vacation homes that are not occupied year-round. The unemployment rate here is fairly high, coming in at 5.2% as opposed to the national average of 3.7%. Homes here have continued to appreciate, however, with single-family listing prices going up by more than 25% in the last year.

#30. Hutchinson Island South, FL

– Total vacant homes: 4,909 (61.8% of all housing units)
— For rent: 344 (39.9% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 69 (2.7% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 9
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 3,935
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 552
– Total housing units: 7,945

As with many Florida beach towns, most vacancies belong to seasonal owners who only use the homes occasionally. The secondary housing market here is also similar to other parts of the country, with the inventory of available homes for sale down by more than 30%.

#29. Sunset Beach, NC

– Total vacant homes: 3,304 (62.1% of all housing units)
— For rent: 303 (50.7% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 26 (1.5% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 4
— Sold, not occupied: 15
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 2,943
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 13
– Total housing units: 5,318

Sunset Beach is part of North Carolina’s Myrtle Beach region, a popular vacation destination that boasts white sandy beaches and recreational activities. The region attracts more than 19 million visitors each year, and the majority of vacant homes here belong to owners who don’t live in Sunset Beach year-round. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the town implemented a ban on both long- and short-term rentals, and vacation homeowners were asked to refrain from visiting, although that ban has since been lifted.

#28. Nantucket, MA

– Total vacant homes: 4,510 (63.3% of all housing units)
— For rent: 231 (21.5% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 35 (1.8% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 121
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 3,926
— For migrant workers: 24
— Other vacant homes: 173
– Total housing units: 7,122

The island of Nantucket, located roughly 30 miles by boat from Cape Cod, relies heavily on tourism to support its economy. As is common in so many tourism-focused regions, there are more than 4,500 homes sitting vacant on the island, with most belonging to seasonal residents who are only there occasionally. The housing market here is stable, with inventory only down by about 11%, although home prices have also dropped by about 10%.

#27. Siesta Key, FL

– Total vacant homes: 5,375 (65.2% of all housing units)
— For rent: 2,070 (81.6% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 145 (5.5% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 13
— Sold, not occupied: 66
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 2,818
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 263
– Total housing units: 8,243

Just off the coast of Sarasota, Florida, Siesta Key is a beach town with a vibrant tourist trade, enjoying the overflow of Sarasota visitors as well as Florida residents looking to get away. While a good portion of the vacant homes in Siesta Key belongs to part-time or seasonal owners, there are also more than 2,000 vacant rental properties. Florida’s governor imposed restrictions on short-term vacation rentals for the state during the initial coronavirus shutdowns, which was lifted in May 2020.

#26. Ruidoso, NM

– Total vacant homes: 5,889 (65.6% of all housing units)
— For rent: 631 (48.2% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 291 (10.5% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 31
— Sold, not occupied: 31
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 4,471
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 434
– Total housing units: 8,976

Ruidoso’s proximity to Ski Apache resort makes it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, and of the nearly 6,000 vacant homes, almost three-quarters are residences that are used recreationally or seasonally. Unemployment here is higher than the national average, with a 5.1% unemployment rate, although there have been increases in the job market in the last year. Homes here have also increased in value, with appreciation going up by 6.8% this year.

#25. Fort Myers Beach, FL

– Total vacant homes: 6,878 (65.9% of all housing units)
— For rent: 270 (40.8% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 101 (3.1% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 4
— Sold, not occupied: 27
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 6,366
— For migrant workers: 31
— Other vacant homes: 79
– Total housing units: 10,444

Fort Myers Beach is a town on Florida’s Estero Island, just off the coast. A popular vacation spot, the economy here is generally healthy, with a low unemployment rate of 3.4%, and most of the vacant homes are seasonal vacation homes. Houses have gone up in value by more than 46% in the last 10 years, with appreciation up by 4% in 2020.

#24. Panama City Beach, FL

– Total vacant homes: 11,204 (66.7% of all housing units)
— For rent: 2,492 (53.4% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 109 (3.0% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 75
— Sold, not occupied: 53
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 8,253
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 222
– Total housing units: 16,796

Another Florida beach town, Panama City Beach sits on the Gulf of Mexico. Tourism brings more than 17 million visitors each year. Of the over 11,000 vacant homes, more than 8,000 of those are seasonal residences. While the state banned vacation rentals in early 2020 due to the coronavirus, the short-term rental market as a whole has bounced back, both in Florida and across the country.

#23. Wildwood, NJ

– Total vacant homes: 4,712 (67.2% of all housing units)
— For rent: 1,035 (45.1% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 129 (11.0% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 3,330
— For migrant workers: 30
— Other vacant homes: 188
– Total housing units: 7,016

Wildwood is a coastal town, located on a barrier island in New Jersey. There are more than 4,700 vacant housing units here, but upwards of 3,000 of those are vacation homes that are used seasonally. The overall economy here is stable, with an unemployment rate of 3.5% and job markets increasing by 1.8% in the last year.

#22. Osage Beach, MO

– Total vacant homes: 3,653 (67.8% of all housing units)
— For rent: 151 (18.4% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 129 (10.8% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 3,332
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 41
– Total housing units: 5,384

A small town that occupies both Camden and Miller counties in Missouri, Osage Beach is part of Lake of the Ozarks, a lake and reservoir that attracts millions of visitors each year. A large percentage of the homes here are seasonal or vacation homes, with only a small number of housing units that are for rent or for sale. The housing market here is good insofar as appreciation, with median list prices on homes going up by more than 40% in the last year, but inventory is also higher than in recent years.

#21. Lower Grand Lagoon, FL

– Total vacant homes: 4,627 (68.7% of all housing units)
— For rent: 941 (49.8% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 82 (6.5% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 20
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 3,545
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 39
– Total housing units: 6,733

Part of Florida’s Bay County and the Panama City Beach metro area, Lower Grand Lagoon is a popular resort town, and more than 3,500 of the vacant homes here are vacation homes that are used recreationally. There is a 49% rental vacancy rate here, and rentals were banned completely in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Florida’s governor re-opened the vacation rental market in May 2020.

#20. Vail, CO

– Total vacant homes: 5,179 (69.3% of all housing units)
— For rent: 374 (33.3% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 43 (2.5% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 93
— Sold, not occupied: 31
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 4,507
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 131
– Total housing units: 7,475

This well-known ski town is a popular destination for the rich and famous, offering not only winter sports but summer activities like golf and hiking. With so many year-round tourist attractions, the economy here is strong, boasting an unemployment rate of just 1.9%. More than 4,500 of the vacant houses here are used by seasonal residents, accounting for more than 50% of Vail’s total housing units.

#19. Dennis Port, MA

– Total vacant homes: 3,666 (69.5% of all housing units)
— For rent: 109 (14.3% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 0 (0.0% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 73
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 3,446
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 38
– Total housing units: 5,275

Dennis Port is located in Cape Cod, one of Massachusetts’s most popular vacation destinations. Of the more than 5,000 housing units here, just over 3,600 are vacant, however, like many resort towns, the bulk of those vacancies come from vacation homes that are only used recreationally. Finding an available home for sale here can actually be a challenge, with inventory dropping by more than 30% in the last year and housing prices going up by nearly 50%.

#18. Park City, UT

– Total vacant homes: 6,889 (69.9% of all housing units)
— For rent: 931 (43.5% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 72 (3.7% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 113
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 5,604
— For migrant workers: 24
— Other vacant homes: 145
– Total housing units: 9,849

Park City is part of Summit County, Utah, sitting just east of Salt Lake City. Known for Park City Mountain Resort and site of the 2002 Winter Olympics, as well the Sundance Film Festival, it attracts upwards of 600,000 visitors each year. The vacancies here are predominately seasonal residences, accounting for more than half of the city’s total housing. Park City maintains a strong and growing economy, with an unemployment rate of 2.7% and a slight job market increase of 0.4% in the last year.

#17. Gatlinburg, TN

– Total vacant homes: 4,109 (70.2% of all housing units)
— For rent: 721 (35.9% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 34 (3.1% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 546
— Sold, not occupied: 75
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 2,545
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 188
– Total housing units: 5,851

The city of Gatlinburg sits on the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a 520,000-acre natural land area that attracts millions of visitors each year, making the top 10 for most-visited national parks in 2019. While there are more than 4,000 vacant homes here, more than half of those are only used seasonally, and real estate is a fairly robust seller’s market. In the last year, housing inventory has decreased by more than 30%, while home prices have gone up by 5%.

#16. Lake Arrowhead, CA

– Total vacant homes: 8,529 (70.6% of all housing units)
— For rent: 73 (6.7% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 324 (10.8% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 49
— Sold, not occupied: 107
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 7,611
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 365
– Total housing units: 12,076

Located on the shores of Lake Arrowhead Reservoir, the town of Lake Arrowhead is made up of six communities along the lake. Tourism is the driving force behind the economy here, and while there are more than 8,500 vacant homes, most of those are used as seasonal residences. With an unemployment rate of 4.5%, Lake Arrowhead does have higher unemployment than the national average, but this California region has also seen a 2.3% increase in the job market over the last year.

#15. Miramar Beach, FL

– Total vacant homes: 9,821 (72.4% of all housing units)
— For rent: 1,990 (63.7% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 105 (3.8% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 48
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 7,428
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 250
– Total housing units: 13,562

Miramar Beach is a small beach town in Walton County, along the Gulf of Mexico. Even with so many vacancies, the housing market here is competitive, with inventory dropping by 46% in the last year.

#14. North Myrtle Beach, SC

– Total vacant homes: 20,645 (73.2% of all housing units)
— For rent: 7,748 (80.8% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 207 (3.4% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 49
— Sold, not occupied: 124
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 11,968
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 549
– Total housing units: 28,203

Part of the “Grand Strand” of beaches, North Myrtle Beach is a resort town that attracts millions of tourists every year. While many of the vacant homes here are used as seasonal vacation homes, there are also more than 7,000 vacant rental units. State and local governments in North Carolina banned short-term vacation rentals at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but that was lifted in late spring of 2020. Now, many parts of the Grand Strand are running at 100% occupancy, and the demand has increased for rental properties.

#13. Wildwood Crest, NJ

– Total vacant homes: 4,143 (73.9% of all housing units)
— For rent: 294 (42.3% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 79 (6.9% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 3,745
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 25
– Total housing units: 5,603

A New Jersey beach town that is part of the Ocean City Metro area, Wildwood Crest is a sought-after destination for beachgoers and outdoor enthusiasts. There are just over 5,600 housing units here, a mix of condos, apartments, and single-family homes, of which more than 4,000 are vacant. Most of those vacancies are seasonal vacation homes, and the housing market is fairly fast-moving, with inventory down by more than 50% and listing prices up in the last year.

#12. Ocean City, NJ

– Total vacant homes: 14,867 (73.9% of all housing units)
— For rent: 1,182 (42.8% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 425 (10.2% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 71
— Sold, not occupied: 6
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 13,068
— For migrant workers: 16
— Other vacant homes: 99
– Total housing units: 20,120

A central part of the famous Jersey Shore, Ocean City is a resort town that attracts millions of visitors every summer. While there are close to 15,000 vacant homes here, more than 13,000 of those are primarily recreational or seasonal residences. The economy in Ocean City has remained secure, with a 3.5% unemployment rate and a 1.8% increase in job markets in the last year.

#11. Emerald Isle, NC

– Total vacant homes: 5,107 (74.3% of all housing units)
— For rent: 126 (27.9% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 131 (8.2% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 28
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 4,703
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 119
– Total housing units: 6,876

The town of Emerald Isle is on North Carolina’s Bogue Banks Island, part of the Crystal Coast. More than 5,000 homes sit vacant here, but of those, only a small percentage are for sale or rent. Inventory for home sales has dropped by more than 60% in the last year, although listing prices have also dipped slightly.

#10. Mammoth Lakes, CA

– Total vacant homes: 7,281 (74.3% of all housing units)
— For rent: 883 (39.4% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 142 (10.1% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 24
— Sold, not occupied: 81
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 6,089
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 62
– Total housing units: 9,795

Mammoth Lakes visitors get not one, but two ski resorts to choose from, with both Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain ski areas nearby. Due to lack of available rental housing, the Mammoth Lakes Housing Program recently reached out to homeowners who have vacant homes in the area, asking them to consider renting out their homes to local workers.

#9. Breckenridge, CO

– Total vacant homes: 5,609 (76.8% of all housing units)
— For rent: 86 (9.2% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 19 (2.2% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 5,464
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 40
– Total housing units: 7,304

Breckenridge sits at the foot of the Rocky Mountains Tenmile Range and is home to the popular Breckenridge Ski Resort. There are upwards of 5,600 empty housing units here, but seasonal vacation homes account for most of those vacancies. The town has just a 9.2% rental vacancy rate and has dealt with a workforce housing crisis by creating the Breckenridge Housing Helps Program, which seeks to increase rentals and affordable housing.

#8. Orange Beach, AL

– Total vacant homes: 9,874 (76.9% of all housing units)
— For rent: 6,245 (87.5% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 380 (15.1% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 8
— Sold, not occupied: 50
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 3,027
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 164
– Total housing units: 12,840

A resort town on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, Orange Beach has upwards of 9,800 vacant homes. More than 6,000 of those vacancies are empty rental units, giving the town a whopping 87.5% rental vacancy rate. In 2018, Orange Beach banned short term-rentals of less than two weeks for single-family homes, primarily due to complaints by year-round residents. The housing market here is also somewhat inundated, with a high number of homes for sale, although listing prices have increased by more than 40%.

#7. Big Bear Lake, CA

– Total vacant homes: 7,627 (77.3% of all housing units)
— For rent: 88 (7.8% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 138 (10.2% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 18
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 7,165
— For migrant workers: 10
— Other vacant homes: 208
– Total housing units: 9,864

Big Bear Lake is a small town on the shores of Southern California’s Big Bear Lake, one of the region’s most popular lakeside destinations. The majority of vacant homes here are those used seasonally or recreationally, and there are minimal homes for sale or rent. Like nearby Big Bear City, the housing market here has shown a marked decrease in inventory over the last year, while home prices have gone up by approximately 20%.

#6. North Wildwood, NJ

– Total vacant homes: 6,814 (77.5% of all housing units)
— For rent: 620 (57.6% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 40 (2.6% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 6,041
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 113
– Total housing units: 8,788

This Jersey Shore beach town attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, as well as part-time, seasonal residents. Those seasonal homes account for the bulk of North Wildwood’s vacancies, although there is a 57.6% rental vacancy rate here as well. Overall, the economy in North Wildwood is good, with a 3.5% unemployment rate, and the cost of living, while higher than other parts of the U.S., averages lower than other places in New Jersey.

#5. South Padre Island, TX

– Total vacant homes: 5,961 (78.4% of all housing units)
— For rent: 168 (23.1% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 71 (6.1% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 5,698
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 24
– Total housing units: 7,606

The town of South Padre Island is on the island of South Padre, just off the Texas coast. As is the case in many parts of the country, housing inventory on South Padre Island has dropped by quite a bit and housing prices have gone up, with a 74% increase in listing prices over the last year.

#4. North Beach Haven, NJ

– Total vacant homes: 4,947 (81.7% of all housing units)
— For rent: 60 (38.2% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 64 (5.7% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 8
— Sold, not occupied: 48
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 4,726
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 41
– Total housing units: 6,054

Located on Long Beach and part of New Jersey’s Ocean County, North Beach Haven is a small coastal resort town. Long Beach Island is a popular vacation destination in the summer months, and of the nearly 5,000 vacant houses in North Beach Haven, more than 4,700 of those are seasonal residences. The unemployment rate here is lower than the national average, however, the region has seen a decrease in the job market over the last year.

#3. Sea Isle City, NJ

– Total vacant homes: 5,816 (84.0% of all housing units)
— For rent: 255 (69.3% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 73 (6.6% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 10
— Sold, not occupied: 17
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 5,407
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 54
– Total housing units: 6,927

Another Jersey beach town, Sea Isle City is located in Cape May County and is part of the Ocean City Metro area. Cape May County relies heavily on tourism, with a yearly trade that injects more than $6 billion into the local economy. While most of the vacant homes here are used seasonally, there is also a 69.3% percent vacancy rate for rentals. The housing market here was booming as of January 2020 and has remained strong, with median list prices increasing by more than $300,000 in the last year.

#2. Avalon, NJ

– Total vacant homes: 4,666 (86.5% of all housing units)
— For rent: 373 (88.0% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 91 (11.5% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 0
— Sold, not occupied: 27
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 4,136
— For migrant workers: 17
— Other vacant homes: 22
– Total housing units: 5,392

Also part of Cape May County, the town of Avalon is on Seven Mile Island, a barrier island on the Jersey Shore. In April 2020, the Jersey Shore banned all short-term vacation rentals in the region, as well as closing hotels and motels, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. That ban was lifted in May, and Avalon was able to allow short-term rentals again as of May 26, 2020.

#1. Ocean City, MD

– Total vacant homes: 26,300 (87.9% of all housing units)
— For rent: 531 (31.2% rental vacancy rate)
— For sale: 291 (10.3% homeowner vacancy rate)
— Rented, not occupied: 91
— Sold, not occupied: 0
— For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use: 25,250
— For migrant workers: 0
— Other vacant homes: 137
– Total housing units: 29,921

Maryland’s Ocean City is a popular resort destination that attracts roughly 8 million visitors per year. Of the town’s more than 26,000 vacant housing units, upwards of 25,000 are vacation homes that are only occupied part-time. The unemployment rate here is fairly high at 5.1%, and the region has seen its job market decrease by 0.6% in the last year. The housing market here remains strong, however, with inventory dropping by more than 60% in the last year, and sales prices going up by more than 20%.

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From Tired to Trendy: A San Diego Home Renovation

In this Sundae home renovation, we see how our design team modernized an outdated property while reviving its original beachy charm. Helping families is a core value of the Sundae promise. We do our very best to help families who are not only looking to sell their houses, but to those who are