Neighborhood housing vacancy rates are a key indicator when determining the health of a neighborhood. Studies by NeighborWorks America and other groups have shown that one vacant structure affects the value of seven other homes surrounding it. In the case of Syracuse, this issue further distresses already low property values.
The City of Syracuse estimates that there are approximately 1,500 vacant residential structures within its boundaries. Syracuse contains 68,916 housing units, or 56,000 total structures. Thirty-two percent of all of the units in Syracuse are in 2 to 4 family unit homes. Of those multi-unit homes, approximately 10,000 were built before 1940, which means many are in need of renovations and repair. For example, City analysis reveals multi-family homes account for the largest numbers of tax code violations and delinquencies.
Building dilapidation results in decreased property values which, according to the Syracuse 2009 Consolidated Plan, directly and substantially contribute to the number of vacant properties in the Syracuse area. According to the 2010 Syracuse Housing Plan, in 2006 50% of all housing units in Syracuse were occupied by renters and 33% were occupied by owners. This leaves a full 17% completely unoccupied and vacant. These vacant homes need to be renovated immediately by ROC and others before further structural damage is caused due to a lack of maintenance.