With the end of 2021 approaching, NAHB’s Eye on Housing is reviewing the posts that attracted the most readers over the last year. In March, Na Zhao analyzed the age of the housing stock.
According to the latest data from the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS), the median age of owner-occupied homes was 39 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. Moreover, as people use their homes for more purposes and require additional space, older housing represents an investment opportunity for homeowners.
The age of owner-occupied housing stock varies largely across 50 states. New York has the oldest owner-occupied homes with a median age of 60 years, followed by Massachusetts (56), and Rhode Island (55). Half of all owner-occupied houses in the District of Columbia were built more than 79 years ago. However, D.C. is generally not a representative market, as it is a smaller urban area. Newer owner-occupied housing stock is mostly concentrated in the Sun Belt states where 14 out of 15 states, with the exception of California (43), have median owner-occupied housing stock age below the national median (39 years). The median age of owner-occupied homes in Nevada is only 23 years, followed by Georgia and Arizona where half of all owner-occupied homes were built in the last 27 years ago.
The geographic distribution of the age of the owner-occupied housing stock reflects population changes. Population changes, including both natural growth and net migration, signal a rising demand for housing. The rapid population growth states of Utah and Texas, which grew at annualized rates of 1.6% and 1.5% from 2010 to 2019, respectively, have newer owner-occupied housing stocks with the corresponding median ages of 28 and 30.