Forbes ranks Memphis No. 3 among America's Emptiest Cities

Memphis ranked No. 3 in Forbes' list of emptiest U.S. cities. To formulate its rankings, the business publication "ranked cities over all four quarters of last year by single-family and rental vacancy rates, then averaged the ranks to determine the top 10."

Here's what Forbes had to say about Memphis:

The city's 9.4 percent unemployment rate isn't particularly high, but there are thousands of units of deteriorating rental property near the city's center, helping to push the rental vacancy rate to 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the Census Department, down from 21 percent at mid-year. 

"There are several pockets of blight around the city, and as a result, absentee property owners have responded by boarding up their properties," said Mark Fogelman of Fogelman Management Group, a closely held property firm with 5,000 units in Memphis. Those blighted areas exaggerate the Memphis vacancy rate, Fogelman says, which has been stable at 7 percent to 8 percent in most of the city's other submarkets.

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