Florida is empty

Relatively speaking, anyhow:

On Thursday, the Census Bureau revealed that 18% — or 1.6 million — of the Sunshine State’s homes are sitting vacant. That’s a rise of more than 63% over the past 10 years…. In Florida, the worst-hit county is Collier — home of Naples — with a whopping 32% of homes empty. In Sarasota County, 23% of the housing stock sits vacant, while Lee County (Cape Coral) has a 30% vacancy rate. And Miami-Dade County has a vacancy rate of about 12%.

This isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, since Naples is one of the primary second-home markets in the country. No one was actually living in a lot of those houses outside of “the season” as they called it down there. But it is really bad from financial and real estate perspectives, as it indicates that a) rich people can’t afford those second homes anymore and b) the housing market is far more overstocked than the real estate statistics indicate. It’s a classic example of Austrian malinvestment in action, with the perverse incentives created by the credit expansion of the last ten years.