Population and Circulation, 1960-2009
Source: Wisconsin Public Library Service Data
American Ghost Towns Of The 21st Century. (Wall Street 24/7, 3/27/2011)
Excerpt: There are several counties in America, each with more than 10,000 homes, which have vacancy rates above 55%. The rate is above 60% in several.
Most people who follow unemployment and the housing crisis would expect high vacancy rates in hard-hit states including Nevada, Florida and Arizona. They were among the fastest growing areas from 2000 to 2010. Disaster struck once economic growth ended.
Palm Coast, Florida, Las Vegas, Nevada and Cape Coral, Florida were all among the former high fliers. Many large counties which have 20% or higher occupancy rates are in these same regions. Lee County, Florida, Yuma County, Arizona, Mohave County, Arizona, and Osceola, Florida each had a precipitous drop in home prices and increases in vacancy rates as homebuyers disappeared when the economy went south.
Data from states and large metropolitan areas do not tell the story of how much the real estate disaster has turned certain areas in the country into ghost towns. Some of the affected regions are tourist destinations, but much of that traffic has disappeared as the recession has caused people to sell or desert vacation homes and delay trips for leisure. This makes these areas particularly desolate when tourists are not around.
Vilas County, 1960-2009
Property Trax: Vilas County, Wis., named nation's No. 2 "Ghost Town"; locals quickly fire back at ranking. (Wisconsin State Journal, 4/14/2011)
Excerpt: The story also blames Vilas County's purported woes on instability in the tourism market and hits to the county's logging, forestry and construction industries.
Vilas County economic development officials hit back this afternoon with a national press release attacking the story's premise, reasoning and professionalism.
"The article must have been a freshman journalism class assignment," Vilas County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Ken Stubbe says in the release.
Stubbe also said the 62 percent "vacancy rate" reported in the 2010 Census was made up almost entirely of homes that "are seasonal, owned and used frequently by part-time residents," even though part-time residents aren't counted in the census.
Whoever researched and wrote the Wall Street 24/7 article -- and there is no byline -- deserves a break today. And tomorrow......