Utilization of the housing stock is determined by the interplay between a slowly adjusted housing stock and changing regional patterns. Temporal mismatch between adjustments of the housing stock and regional change may lead to variations in the incidence of vacant housing units, over time and over space. Within this context this article analyses the determinants of exit rates from the housing stock in use and what determines the utilization of vacant housing units. This article demonstrates empirically that changes in the stock of vacancies in the housing stock within a municipality increase as one moves from the most central parts of the country towards the less central parts. Furthermore, the growth in the stock of vacant housing correlates positively with the share of inhabitants aged 65 years or over. We relate these empirical findings to a particular form of centralization which has taken place in Norway over the last 50 years: upon leaving the parental home, young people have often left the peripheral parts of the country. As their childhood homes were still inhabited by their parents, they did not leave any vacant housing units behind them. After some 30-50 years, the parents have died. Hence, a centralization process may produce vacant housing units with a time lag of up to 30-50 years.
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