Special Report

Cities With the Nicest Older Homes

DougSchneiderPhoto / E+ via Getty Images

Older homes, specifically historic or so-called century homes, can have special appeal. They are filled with character and often feature unique architecture and/or materials from an earlier time. Along with character, however, they often come with other issues, much less appealing — mold, termites, outdated wiring and plumbing, and more. And to maintain an old home and keep it up-to-date can be expensive — especially if one wants to keep the character intact. (These are the oldest houses for sale in America.)

Most cities nationwide have old houses, built in 1949 or before. Many also have historic homes, so designated because of their cultural or architectural importance. In some cities these may be in a state of disrepair, while other cities have some of the nation’s nicest historic homes. 

How do we define “nice?” Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey, 24/7 Tempo compared the median value of older houses (those built in 1949 or before) to the median value of all homes. If the older ones are nice — well maintained and updated — they would presumably have greater median value than the median for all homes. 

It’s not surprising to find that older cities, specifically known for their beautiful historic districts — like Savannah, Georgia; New Orleans; and Charleston, South Carolina — are among those with the nicest older homes.  

Click here to see the cities with the nicest older homes

Most of the cities on our list are in the South or Northeast, many of them along the East Coast, from Massachusetts to Florida. But some Western states are represented as well, including California with three cities and Colorado with one. There are also two in the Midwest. Somewhat surprisingly, there are none in New Mexico, where some of America’s first settlements were founded. (These are the oldest cities in America.)

To determine the cities with the nicest historic homes, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on median home value by year of home built from the U.S. Census Bureau. Places were ranked based on the ratio of the median home value for homes built in 1949 or earlier to the median home value for all homes. Only places with at least 500 housing units built in 1949 or earlier and at least one historic district listed in the National Register of Historic Places of the National Park Service were considered. Data on median home value and the number of homes built in 1949 or earlier came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Data on the National Register of Historic Places came from the National Park Service and are current as of June 2021.

40. Farmville, Virginia
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $257,199
> Median home value of all homes: $185,800
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 18.6% (571 units)
> Historic districts: Farmville Historic District, High Bridge

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39. Ocala, Florida
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $198,790
> Median home value of all homes: $142,200
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 6.6% (1,780 units)
> Historic districts: Ocala Historic District, Tuscawilla Park Historic District, Old Fessenden Academy Historic District, Ocala Historic Commercial District

38. College Park, Georgia
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $258,156
> Median home value of all homes: $183,700
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 14.1% (1,117 units)
> Historic districts: College Park Historic District

37. Oceanside, California
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $693,916
> Median home value of all homes: $492,600
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 3.4% (2,271 units)
> Historic districts: Rosicrucian Fellowship Temple

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36. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $306,324
> Median home value of all homes: $216,100
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 2.2% (538 units)
> Historic districts: Myrtle Heights-Oak Park Historic District, Myrtle Beach Downtown Historic District

35. Upper Arlington, Ohio
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $563,210
> Median home value of all homes: $397,300
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 18.0% (2,615 units)
> Historic districts: Upper Arlington Historic District

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34. Annapolis, Maryland
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $599,270
> Median home value of all homes: $420,500
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 20.2% (3,496 units)
> Historic districts: Colonial Annapolis Historic District, U.S. Naval Academy, Colonial Annapolis Historic District and boundary increase

33. Oxford, Mississippi
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $356,916
> Median home value of all homes: $248,200
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 5.8% (881 units)
> Historic districts: Oxford Courthouse Square Historic District, North Lamar Historic District, Lyceum-The Circle Historic District, South Lamar Historic District

32. Rogersville, Tennessee
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $204,261
> Median home value of all homes: $140,500
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 34.6% (690 units)
> Historic districts: Rogersville Historic District

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31. Savannah, Georgia
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $228,482
> Median home value of all homes: $156,500
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 24.9% (15,400 units)
> Historic districts: Fort Pulaski National Monument, Juliette Gordon Low Historic District, Savannah Historic District, Central of Georgia Railway Company Shop Property

30. Edina, Minnesota
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $696,060
> Median home value of all homes: $476,300
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 13.1% (3,049 units)
> Historic districts: Country Club Historic District

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29. Auburn, Alabama
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $390,000
> Median home value of all homes: $266,200
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 3.0% (830 units)
> Historic districts: Auburn University Historic District, Old Main and Church Street Historic District

28. New Orleans, Louisiana
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $339,891
> Median home value of all homes: $231,500
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 41.7% (79,959 units)
> Historic districts: Vieux Carré Historic District, Chalmette Unit of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park Historic District, Garden District, Lower Garden District

27. Chapel Hill, North Carolina
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $593,218
> Median home value of all homes: $399,700
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 4.8% (1,071 units)
> Historic districts: Chapel Hill Historic District, Meadowmont, Rocky Ridge Farm Historic District, Gimghoul Neighborhood Historic District

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26. Nantucket, Massachusetts
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $1,492,158
> Median home value of all homes: $1,001,700
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 22.3% (1,587 units)
> Historic districts: Nantucket Historic District

25. Boulder, Colorado
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $1,048,303
> Median home value of all homes: $700,000
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 9.6% (4,343 units)
> Historic districts: Colorado Chautauqua, Norlin Quadrangle Historic District, Downtown Boulder Historic District, Walker Ranch Historic District

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24. Austin, Texas
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $509,953
> Median home value of all homes: $337,400
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 5.3% (22,180 units)
> Historic districts: Bremond Block Historic District, Little Campus, Edward H. Rogers Homestead

23. Summerville, South Carolina
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $317,165
> Median home value of all homes: $207,800
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 2.9% (616 units)
> Historic districts: Middleton Place, Summerville Historic District

22. Covington, Georgia
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $264,161
> Median home value of all homes: $171,600
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 13.3% (729 units)
> Historic districts: Floyd Street Historic District, Salem Camp Ground, Covington Historic District, Covington Mills and Mill Village Historic District

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21. Brevard, North Carolina
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $365,400
> Median home value of all homes: $232,500
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 23.6% (1,005 units)
> Historic districts: Biltmore Forest School, Main Street Historic District, East Main Street Historic District

20. Fairhope, Alabama
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $478,727
> Median home value of all homes: $299,200
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 5.9% (555 units)
> Historic districts: Fairhope Bayfront District, White Avenue Historic District, Fairhope Downtown Historic District

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19. Camden, South Carolina
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $255,629
> Median home value of all homes: $159,700
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 20.7% (701 units)
> Historic districts: Historic Camden Revolutionary War Restoration, City of Camden Historic District, Kendall Mill Historic District, Boykin Mill Complex

18. Sarasota, Florida
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $430,589
> Median home value of all homes: $268,400
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 10.0% (3,180 units)
> Historic districts: Caples-Ringlings Estates Historic District, Burns Court Historic District, Edson Keith Estate, Bacheller-Brewer Model Home Estate

17. Palm Springs, California
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $639,668
> Median home value of all homes: $389,800
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 5.7% (2,197 units)
> Historic districts: Andreas Canyon, Desert Golf Course, Riviera Gardens

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16. Lexington, Virginia
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $388,600
> Median home value of all homes: $235,700
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 34.2% (837 units)
> Historic districts: Liberty Hall Site, Anderson Hollow Archaeological District, Scott-Hutton Farm

15. Delray Beach, Florida
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $462,663
> Median home value of all homes: $280,200
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 3.0% (1,080 units)
> Historic districts: Marina Historic District, Old School Square Historic District

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14. Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $286,600
> Median home value of all homes: $172,600
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 10.0% (818 units)
> Historic districts: Beach Boulevard Historic District, Main Street Historic District, Sycamore Street Historic District, Washington Street Historic District

13. Milledgeville, Georgia
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $204,500
> Median home value of all homes: $121,900
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 12.3% (919 units)
> Historic districts: Milledgeville Historic District

12. Raleigh, North Carolina
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $417,378
> Median home value of all homes: $248,300
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 5.2% (10,529 units)
> Historic districts: Oakwood Historic District, Capitol Area Historic District, St. Mary’s College, St. Augustine’s College Campus

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11. West Hollywood, California
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $1,294,729
> Median home value of all homes: $755,400
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 24.4% (6,237 units)
> Historic districts: North Harper Avenue Historic District

10. Chatham, Massachusetts
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $1,336,500
> Median home value of all homes: $778,600
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 35.8% (774 units)
> Historic districts: Marconi-RCA Wireless Receiving Station, Old Village Historic District

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9. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $799,611
> Median home value of all homes: $461,000
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 1.5% (542 units)
> Historic districts: Mount Pleasant Historic District, Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens (Slave Street, Smokehouse, and Allée) and boundary increase

8. Donaldsonville, Louisiana
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $203,385
> Median home value of all homes: $113,000
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 16.3% (553 units)
> Historic districts: Donaldsonville Historic District

7. Lewisburg, West Virginia
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $413,000
> Median home value of all homes: $228,900
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 25.3% (587 units)
> Historic districts: Lewisburg Historic District, South Church Street Historic District, Maple Street Historic District

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6. Miami Beach, Florida
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $837,685
> Median home value of all homes: $459,000
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 19.1% (13,148 units)
> Historic districts: Miami Beach Architectural District, Normandy Isles Historic District, North Shore Historic District, Collins Waterfront Architectural District

5. Charleston, South Carolina
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $618,399
> Median home value of all homes: $330,600
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 16.3% (10,438 units)
> Historic districts: William Aiken House and associated railroad structures, Charleston Historic District, Fort Sumter National Monument, Charleston Historic District and boundary increase

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4. Beaufort, North Carolina
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $433,693
> Median home value of all homes: $229,900
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 23.3% (682 units)
> Historic districts: Beaufort Historic District, Cape Lookout Coast Guard Station

3. Charlotte, North Carolina
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $420,357
> Median home value of all homes: $220,300
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 5.5% (19,647 units)
> Historic districts: Dilworth Historic District, Myers Park Historic District, Highland Park Manufacturing Company Mill No. 3, Elizabeth Historic District

2. Beaufort, South Carolina
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $420,759
> Median home value of all homes: $214,700
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 11.6% (658 units)
> Historic districts: Beaufort Historic District

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1. Brownsville, Tennessee
> Median home value of homes built 1949 or earlier: $177,300
> Median home value of all homes: $88,100
> Pct. of homes built 1949 or earlier: 12.9% (586 units)
> Historic districts: College Hill Historic District, College Hill Historic District and boundary Increase, Dunbar-Carver Historic District, North Washington Historic District

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