The housing market in the U.S. has been transformed over the last two years. Across the nation, home prices have risen by about 20% year over previous year, according to the S&P Case-Shiller Index. In some cities, the figure is above 25%.
Among the triggers of the new housing market is low mortgage rates (which have recently disappeared). At less than 3%, they had been near an all time low. People have been able to move into more expensive homes because of this.
People in the U.S. have also become more mobile, largely because of the “work from home” population which was created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tens of thousands of people have relocated from expensive coastal cities like New York and San Francisco to more affordable metros inland.
Despite all this moving, home ownership in the U.S. has not changed radically as a percent of the population. However, it does vary widely from city to city. Nationwide, the homeownership rate stands at 64.4%, according to the latest American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Using census data, 24/7 Wall St. identified the city with the highest homeownership rate. Cities, defined as places with populations of at least 25,000, are ranked by the share of housing units occupied by their owners.
Among the cities we considered, homeownership rates range from 87.5% to 96.3%. The cities we looked at span the country, though New York state alone is home to nine, more than any other state.
Homeownership can be expensive, especially in the many of the cities we looked at with higher than average home values. However, incomes in these areas also tend to be relatively high, making homeownership more affordable for larger shares of the population.
To determine the city with the highest homeownership rate, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of the share of housing units that are occupied by their owners from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. Cities were ranked based on the percentage of housing units that are occupied by their owners. To break ties, we used the number of housing units that are occupied by their owners.
We used census “place” geographies — a category that includes incorporated legal entities and census-designated statistical entities. We defined cities based on a population threshold – census places needed to have a population of at least 25,000 to be considered.
Cities were excluded if homeownership rates were not available in the 2020 ACS, if there were fewer than 1,000 housing units, or if the sampling error associated with a city’s data was deemed too high.
The sampling error was defined as too high if the coefficient of variation — a statistical assessment of how reliable an estimate is — for a city’s homeownership rate was above 15% and greater than two standard deviations above the mean CV for all cities’ homeownership rates. We similarly excluded cities that had a sampling error too high for their population, using the same definition.
Additional information on median home value, median housing costs with and without a mortgage, and median household income are also five-year estimates from the 2020 ACS.
The city with the highest home ownership rate was West Islip, New York. Here are the details:
> Homeownership rate: 96.3%
> Median home value: $451,000 — 321st highest of 1,789 cities (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $3,134 — 101st highest of 1,789 cities
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $1,428 — 20th highest of 1,789 cities
> Median household income: $132,415 — 70th highest of 1,789 cities
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