PolicyMap’s postal vacancy data from Valassis Lists has three different measures of vacancy that stem from how the USPS carriers track addresses. The most common type of vacancy is non-seasonal; this is a home or business that’s expected to be occupied year-round. A property can also be seasonally vacant, if it is a vacation home or a business that only operates for part of the year, such as a ski lodge or frozen custard stand. The third category is No-stat. These addresses aren’t actually counted as “vacant,” so what are they, how did they get into the data, and why do they matter?
No-stat is an umbrella category for addresses that the postal service considers unlikely to have mail delivered for one of several reasons. The chart below shows the percent of all addresses considered No-stat in the city of Houston, two ZIP codes within the city (77006, between downtown Houston and the Texas Medical Center, and 77004, in the Third Ward neighborhood), and the county of Colorado TX, just outside the expansive Houston metropolitan area.
In urban and suburban areas, no-stat addresses are buildings that USPS does not consider deliverable addresses. The No-stat addresses in Houston include a combination of newly-constructed buildings, gated communities without individual delivery, and blighted structures.
In rural areas, no-stat is used to indicate all rural route addresses not receiving mail – places where the mail box is not directly adjacent to the property. These can represent vacant buildings or simply places where residents or businesses have elected to use a P.O. Box instead of delivery:
The different application of no-stat in urban and rural areas means that no-stat can and should be understood differently, depending on the characteristics of local housing and commercial development. It can be difficult to interpret No-stat across different areas. We’ve created a new indicator, the annual percent change in No-stat addresses, from 2013 Q3 – 2014 Q3, which can be helpful in figuring out what No-stat means in the data for your area:
The 77006 ZIP code, which is developing rapidly, shows a dramatic increase in the number of no-stat addresses, most likely due to new construction of townhomes and apartment buildings. The 77004 ZIP code shows a slight decrease, possibly due to blighted homes being demolished for redevelopment. Houston and rural Colorado County both show modest increases in no-stat properties – in Colorado County this could mean more new development, increased vacancy, or both. Check out the No-stat data for the area where you live on PolicyMap – all Valassis Lists data is available to subscribers in the Housing tab.