Special Report

Cities Where the Most (and Least) People Own Their Home

Thomas C. Frohlich, Samuel Stebbins, Michael B. Sauter

Rochester, Minnesota
Source: Wikimedia Commons

15. Rochester, MN
> Homeownership rate: 75.5%
> Median home value: $170,200
> Median household income: $66,214

The homeownership rate in Rochester is 75.5%, one of the highest of all U.S. metropolitan areas. By contrast, 63.1% of householders nationwide own their homes. Not all cities with high homeownership rates have strong economies, but in Rochester, residents benefit from low unemployment and low poverty. The city’s June unemployment rate of 3.3% and poverty rate of 9.5% are each among the lowest such rates of any metro area.

Jackson, Michigan
Source: Wikimedia Commons

14. Jackson, MI
> Homeownership rate: 75.5%
> Median home value: $109,400
> Median household income: $45,371

After increasing by a near nation-leading 19.5% since 2010, the homeownership rate in Jackson, Michigan is over 75.0%. Across the country, Millennials are a drag on the overall homeownership rate, as an unprecedented share of the generation is not buying homes. In Jackson, however, the problem is far less pronounced. Of area residents aged 15 to 34, 43.3% are homeowners, more than 10 percentage points higher than the 32.0% rate among the same age group nationwide.

Wausau, Wisconsin
Source: Thinkstock

13. Wausau, WI
> Homeownership rate: 75.6%
> Median home value: $145,600
> Median household income: $53,300

A high homeownership rate is often a reflection of economic and financial stability, but it can also mean that area homes are simply more affordable. The median household income of $53,300 in Wausau is roughly in line with national income levels. However, the cost of living, as well as the median home value, are each well below the respective national figures. The area economy also seems relatively healthy, with poverty and unemployment rates of 9.4% and 3.9%, respectively, each among the lowest of all metro areas.

Fort St. Lucie, Florida

12. Port St. Lucie, FL
> Homeownership rate: 75.6%
> Median home value: $151,800
> Median household income: $47,483

Older Americans are more likely to be homeowners than their younger counterparts. With 38.7% of area residents age 55 or older, Port St. Lucie’s population is one of the oldest of any city in the country. A relatively high 85.7% homeownership rate among the area’s elderly population boosts the city’s overall rate to a near nation-leading 75.6%.

Ocean City, New Jersey Beach

11. Ocean City, NJ
> Homeownership rate: 76.0%
> Median home value: $296,800
> Median household income: $56,899

Unlike other metro areas with the nation’s highest homeownership rates, the percentage of owner-occupied housing units in Ocean City has declined in recent years. From 2010, the area’s homeownership rate declined by 2.4 percentage points, in line with the national rate decline. Ocean City’s housing market, however, still appears to be doing quite well. The typical home is worth close to $300,000, one of the highest median home values in the country. Also, the 51.8% ownership rate among younger area residents aged 15 to 34 is unusually high. Nationwide, just 32.0% of that demographic own their homes.