The percentage of all U.S. homes empty and for sale, known as the vacancy rate, fell to 2.5% in the second quarter, from 2.7% in the first quarter, the U.S. Census Bureau said Friday.

The share of households that own their own residence stood at 67.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The vacancy rate hit a high of 2.9% in the first and fourth quarters of 2008, the Census Bureau said.

It fell slightly as the number of homes on the market declined because they were sold or because their owners gave up trying to market them.

The rate was the lowest in the Northeast, at 2%, and the highest in the South, at 2.7%, according to the report.

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