Sacramento sees huge rise in vacant houses, apartments

Nearly four years into California's housing downturn, close to 24,000 Sacramento-area homes and apartments are vacant, a number that climbed 40 percent in the past year, according to a Bee analysis of federal data.

Roughly a third, or about 7,200, of the six-county region's vacant homes have been empty longer than a year. About 3,500 have been empty longer than two years.

The vacancy count, revealing a vast excess of unused shelter in a region that overbuilt during the housing boom, stems from a U.S. Postal Service survey of houses and apartments where mail has not been picked up for 90 days.

Unoccupied houses put further stress on neighborhoods already hit hard by foreclosures.

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