Homeownership is a longstanding aspiration for millions of Americans. According to a Gallup poll, more than nine in every 10 American investors consider owning a home to be either an essential or important component of the American dream. Homeownership can also be one of the best and most practical ways to build wealth — both through appreciation of equity and tax deductions.
The past year has been historic for the American housing market. A surge in demand, fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and record-low mortgage rates, helped push the national homeownership rate — or the share of housing units occupied by their owners — to 67.9% in the second quarter of 2020, its highest level in over a decade.
Still, homeownership rates vary considerably in the U.S., and in some parts of the country, people are far more likely to own their homes than in others.
Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the highest homeownership rates. All 50 states were ranked by their homeownership rate in 2019, the most recent year of available ACS data. Depending on the state, homeownership rates range from less than 55% to about 73%.
Homeownership rates are impacted in large part by housing costs. In states where real estate prices are higher on average, homeownership rates tend to be lower. In states with lower housing costs, on the other hand, larger shares of the population own their home. Here is a look at the most expensive town to buy a home in every state.
Additionally, the states with the highest homeownership rates tend to have large rural populations and often lack major urban centers where renting tends to be more common. Meanwhile, states with lower than average homeownership rates often have major cities with thriving rental markets. Here is a look at the places where rents dropped the most during the pandemic.
To determine the states with the highest homeownership, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed one-year data on housing from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. States were ranked based on the number of owner-occupied units as a share of all occupied housing units. Supplemental data on the median home value of owner-occupied homes, the percentage of housing units with a mortgage, median monthly housing costs for housing units with a mortgage, and median household income came from the 2019 ACS and are one-year estimates.