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Massachusetts homes are among nation’s oldest

by Michael M. Mazek

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Recent reports from the National Association of Home Builders, based on U.S. Census data, found that the nation’s housing stock is growing increasingly older on average. But while the median age of an owner-occupied residence was 37 years old in 2016, that number varied significantly on a state-by-state basis.

In Massachusetts and much of the Northeast, homes tend to be older than the rest of the nation. The NAHB found that the median age of the state’s housing stock was 54 years old, the second-oldest among all 50 states. In other terms, half of all owner-occupied homes in the state were built before 1962. Only New York had a higher median home age of 57 years.

At the other end of the spectrum, states with the highest concentration of new homes tended to be grouped in the South and Southwest. Nevada’s housing stock posted the lowest median age of 21 years, followed by Georgia and Arizona at 25 years.

In addition to regional trends, the NAHB also found correlations between the median age of a state’s homes and its population growth rates. In general, states with more recently built homes tended to have higher population growth rates. Notably, Nevada’s 2016 population growth rate of just over 2 percent was the highest of all states and strongly representative of the correlation between home age and population growth. This also ties into employment growth rates, which showed a somewhat weaker but still inverse relation to median home age, based on NAHB analysis of Census data.

“Regional employment growth also drives housing demand, as gains in new jobs could attract net migration inflows,” the NAHB report explained. “Consequently, states with stronger employment growth tend to have newer housing stock.”

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