Vacant buildings—especially ones that stretch through blocks of neighborhoods—have reached “epidemic levels” in some cities, according to a new report by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy titled “The Empty House Next Door.” Formerly industrial cities in the Rust Belt are seeing the highest levels of what researchers call “hypervacancy.” Hypervacancy consists of blocks and neighborhoods of vacant buildings and lots that comprise 20 percent or more of the housing stock of an area.
The cities with 10 percent or more of all units vacant, according to 2010 census data, are: Gary, Ind.; Detroit; Flint, Mich.; Dayton, Ohio; Cleveland; St. Louis; Buffalo, N.Y.; Baltimore; Birmingham; Pittsburgh; Chicago; Philadelphia; and Milwaukee. One out of every two census tracts in Cleveland are considered hypervacant. In Gary, 25,000 vacant homes or lots cover 40 percent of the city’s parcels, according to the report.