New York Times photo of Detroit home vacancy.
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24/7 rankings A-team Thomas C. Frohlich, Sam Stebbins, Michael B. Sauter and Evan Comen dove into RealtyTrac data on 26,000 zip codes along with reports from mail carriers, and blended the numbers to get housing characteristics data on 5,000 cities.

The result? Rankings of the 15 cities with the highest vacancy rates. These cities, mostly in the U.S. Rust Belt, represent the locales that have continued to deteriorate, outside the widening radius of recovery since the Great Recession ended in 2010. The 24/7 analysts write, quoting RealtyTrac vp Daren Blomquist:

The health of these housing markets is ultimately tied to the area’s economic health, which is also often mirrored by demographic changes. “These tend to be cities where people are losing jobs and also cities that have been losing population,” Blomquist said.

Eight of the 15 cities with the highest vacancy rates have also experienced double-digit population declines since 2009. In four, the population shrank by more than 20% over that period.
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