Northeast homes stay vacant the longest

File photo of a vacant house in Stratford that was hit by a fire in 2012

The U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday the median number of months a vacant home stays empty in the Northeast was 3.8 months, the highest in the nation.

The Midwest was a close second, with homes staying vacant 3.7 months. The West and South were both lower than the national duration of 2.9 months.

The age of structures, price and economy are all contributing to the vacancy rate here in New England and the Northeast.

According to the report, 31.3 percent of the vacant homes, that are either for rent or sale in the Northeast, were built in 1939 or earlier. The Midwest, also saddled with older housing stock, saw 30.9 percent of its vacancies concentrated in pre-1940 homes.

On the rental front, 40.7 percent of empty apartments had a lease price of $1,000 or more a month in the Northeast. Rental vacancy in the West at this price point was 38 percent, and was less than 15 percent in the Midwest and South, according to the Bureau.

But the Northeast led the nation with the lowest vacancy rate for apartments leasing for $300 to $399, the report said.

On homes for sales, the Northeast was first in the percentage of vacant homes that remained empty for two or more years, but the median number of months it took to fill a vacant house that was for sale was 9.1 months, slightly less than the Midwest where it was 9.5 months.

Rob Varnon