America's Aging Housing Stock

August 13, 2018
U.S. housing stock is aging, with the median age of owner-occupied homes in 2016 being 37 years old.
Photo: Unsplash/Manu Franco

Owner-occupied homes are getting older, according to new analysis by the National Association of Home Builders. The median age of such homes was 37 years in 2016, up from 31 in 2005. 

According to the NAHB, the trend is driven mostly by the fact that residential construction has had only "modest" growth over the past 10 years, and is now resulting in an upswing of remodeling activity. The share of newly-built homes dropped seven percent from 2006 to 2016, while the share of homes built 46 or more years ago grew seven percent from 31 to 38 points in that time period. More than half of all owner-occupied homes in the U.S. were built before 1980, and 38 percent were built before 1970.

It is worthwhile to take a look at the households living in different ages of housing stock. New homes are more likely being owned by younger generations. Around 70 percent of homes built after 2010 are owned by Generation X (age 35 – 54) and Millennials (age 18 -34), with 26 percent occupied by the 35-44 age group, 19 percent by the 45-54, and 25 percent by under 35. Meanwhile, homes built before 1980 are largely owned by Baby Boomers (age 55 or older). Especially 59 percent of homes built 1970 to 1979 and 56 percent of homes built before 1969 are occupied by householder ages 55 or older. It implies a growing market for renovations allowing older homeowners to age in place.

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