With the end of 2018 approaching, NAHB’s Eye on Housing is reviewing the posts that attracted the most readers over the last year. In August, Na Zhao examined the nation’s aging housing stock.
According to the latest data from the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS), the median age of owner-occupied homes remained at 37 years. The age of the housing stock is an important remodeling market indicator. Older houses are less energy-efficient than new construction and ultimately will require remodeling and renovation in the future.
The age of owner-occupied housing stock varies noticeably across the 50 states. New York has the oldest owner-occupied homes with a median age of 57 years, followed by Massachusetts (54), and Rhode Island (53). Half of all owner-occupied houses in the District of Columbia were built more than 75 years. However, D.C. is generally not a representative market, as it is entirely urban. Newer owner-occupied housing stock is mostly concentrated in the Sun Belt states where 13 out of 15 states have median owner-occupied housing stock age below the national median (37 years). The median age of owner-occupied homes in Nevada is only 21 years, followed by Georgia and Arizona where half of all owner-occupied homes were built in the last 25 years ago.
The geographic distribution of the age of the owner-occupied housing stock reflects population changes and employment growth. Population changes, including both natural growth and net migration, signal the rising demand for housing. The fastest population growing states of Utah and Nevada, which grew at rates of 2.03% and 1.95%, respectively, have newer owner-occupied housing stocks with the corresponding median ages of 27 and 21. Regional employment growth also drives housing demand, as gains in new jobs could attract net migration inflows. Consequently, states with stronger employment growth tend to have newer housing stock.