Where are the Nation’s Older Homes?


In previous posts, NAHB examined the age of owner-occupied housing stocks at both national and state levels. The median age of owner-occupied homes in the U.S. stood at 37 years in 2016, based on the most recent available data. New York has the oldest owner-occupied housing stock among the 50 states.

It is worthwhile to examine the age of owner-occupied housing stock at a more local level, as it will help better understand the local housing supply and market. This article focuses on the median age of owner-occupied homes at metropolitan (metro) area level using data from the 2016 American Community Survey.

The metro area with the oldest owner-occupied housing stock is Johnstown, PA with a median age of 62 years, followed by Elmira, NY (63), Pittsfield, MA (60), Danville, IL (60), and Utica-Rome, NY (60). As one might expect, older homes are mostly located in larger or expensive metro areas with limited space for core city expansion.

The aging housing stock is also associated with population decline. The top metro areas with the oldest owner-occupied housing stocks all experienced negative population growth from 2010 to 2016 with the exception of 1.2% growth in Springfield, MA. In contrast, metro areas with ewer owner-occupied housing stock all have enjoyed double-digit population growth from 2010 through 2016, well above the national average of 5.5%. They also have posted employment growth well above the national average. For example, Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV Metro Area, which is one of the fastest growing areas, had a 10.4% population increase in 2010- 2016, in large part driven by net domestic migration. In terms of job growth, it was up by 21.1% during the same time. Strong employment growth and rising population all contribute to rising demand of new construction in the local areas.

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