Top Ten Metro Areas – Homeownership Rates

In a recent study, NAHB examines eight key housing statistics from the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS). One statistic is the homeownership rate for all metropolitan (metro) areas in the United States. A metro area is an aggregation of counties that share a local labor and housing market based on commuting patterns. This post lists the ten metro areas with the highest homeownership rates and the ten metro areas with the lowest homeownership rates.

The homeownership rate is calculated by taking the total number of owner-occupied units divided by the total number of occupied units for a chosen geography. Occupied units can either be rented or owned. Therefore, a high homeownership rate implies a low renter rate.

According to the 2012 ACS, the metro area with the highest homeownership rate is Barnstable Town, MA at 81.6%. The national homeownership rate during the same time period is 64.7%. The Nassau-Suffolk, NY, metro area is the only metro area in the top ten with a population less than 100,000.

Figure_1a

As one might expect, the homeownership rate is linked to affordability. In general, homeownership rates are higher when homes are more affordable. Eight of the top ten metropolitan areas have median home values below the national median home value of $171,900.

According to the 2012 ACS, the metropolitan area with the lowest homeownership rate is the New York metro division at 38.8%. The three areas with the lowest homeownership rates (New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA and San Francisco, CA) are heavily populated metropolitan areas with median home values well above the national figure.

Figure_2a

In addition, three of the ten areas with the lowest homeownership rates are home to large universities which place a heavy demand on rental units. Group quarters such as dormitories are included in the ACS which also pushes homeownership rates lower in these areas.

The Manhattan, KS metro area is home to Kansas State University. The Lawrence, KS metro area is home to the University of Kansas. The College Station-Bryan, TX metro area is home to Texas A&M University.

*** The ACS typically produces lower homeownership rates than other government data sources like the Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS). NAHB believes this is due to the extensive follow-up interviews conducted with the ACS which classifies fewer units as vacant and more as occupied (probably differentially owner-occupied), although the Census Bureau has not yet confirmed this assertion. The HVS is timelier but the ACS has more geographic detail.

 

  • The complete series is provided below.
  1. Eye on Housing – Top Ten Metro Areas – Owner Occupied Housing Units
  2. Eye on Housing – Top Ten Metro Areas – Homeownership Rate
  3. Eye on Housing – Top Ten Metro Areas – Vacancy Rates
  4. Eye on Housing – Top Ten Metro Areas – Single-Family Concentration
  5. Eye on Housing – Top Ten Metro Areas – Median Income and Home Value
  6. Eye on Housing – Top Ten Metro Areas – New Construction


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