The U.S. home-vacancy rate, a measure of properties empty and for sale, fell to the lowest level since 2006 as demand for housing improved and lenders slowed property repossessions.

The rate declined to 2.1 percent in the second quarter from 2.2 percent in the previous three months and 2.5 percent a year earlier, the Census Bureau said today in a report from Washington. A gauge that measures the share of Americans who own their homes rose to 65.5 percent from a 15-year low of 65.4 percent in the prior quarter.

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