Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online.
Ghost dwellings are defined as housing units that are vacant but not abandoned nor available for rent or sale; their owners only occasionally reside in them. In big cities, they are thought to contribute to various ills such as housing unaffordability and a deadening of urban life and culture. This study provides the first systematic assessment of the spatial extent of ghost dwellings in the 50 largest cities in the United States. It quantifies their concentration at the city, neighborhood, and building scales. In keeping with the tenor of recent media reports, ghost dwellings are increasing rapidly in most big cities, albeit from a small base. They concentrate in a small number of highly privileged and well-known neighborhoods. The epicenters are a surprisingly varied collection of cities, ranging from globally renowned Miami and Las Vegas to the less well-known Austin and Atlanta. A loose test of several possible hypotheses driving ghost dwelling growth on the basis of locational patterns finds the strongest support for exclusion and retirement orientation as mechanisms. In certain cities, ghost dwellings are strongly associated with particular building formats such as high-rises and condominiums.