Special Report

Counties Where the Fewest People Own Their Homes

Jaskaran Kooner / iStock via Getty Images

The American housing market took off during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The homeownership rate – or the share of housing units occupied by their owner – jumped by 2.6 percentage points from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2020, by far the largest increase ever recorded. By the end of 2020, there were 2.1 million more homeowners in the United States than there were a year earlier. 

The surge in home sales was fueled by several factors, including historically low mortgage rates, and, as some experts speculate, the pandemic, which led many Americans to re-evaluate where and how they live. Here is a look at the mortgage rate in America every year since 1972

Nationwide, the homeownership rate stands at 64.4%, according to the latest American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This rate varies substantially across the country, however, and in some places, homeownership is far less common than it is nationwide.

Using census data, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 counties with the lowest homeownership rates. Counties and county equivalents, which can include independent cities, are ranked by the share of housing units occupied by their owners. 

Among the counties on this list, homeownership rates range from about 20% to 50%. Most of the counties on this list are in the South, including 14 in Virginia alone. 

Homeownership can be expensive, and in most of the counties on this list, the typical household earns less than the national median household income of $64,994, making homeownership less affordable for larger shares of the population. Here is a look at the 20 cities where the middle class can no longer afford housing

Many of the counties on this list are located in major cities, including New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., where renting tends to be far more common than average. Other counties and county equivalents on this list are home to major colleges and universities, where significant shares of the population reside there temporarily and are more likely to rent a home than buy one. These places include Charlottesville, Virginia, home to University of Virginia, and Clarke County, Georgia, home to the University of Georgia. 

Click here to see the counties where the fewest people own their homes
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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50. Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana
> Homeownership rate: 50.0%
> Median home value: $148,300 — 1,315th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,213 — 1,292nd highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $325 — 356th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $30,625 — 43rd lowest of 3,072 counties

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49. Lynchburg city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 49.8%
> Median home value: $162,900 — 1,041st highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,168 — 1,479th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $416 — 1,529th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $49,201 — 1,086th lowest of 3,072 counties

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

48. Orleans Parish, Louisiana
> Homeownership rate: 49.8%
> Median home value: $250,000 — 358th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,703 — 273rd highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $528 — 455th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $43,258 — 569th lowest of 3,072 counties

47. Kodiak Island Borough, Alaska
> Homeownership rate: 49.7%
> Median home value: $295,100 — 218th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,847 — 198th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $718 — 110th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median household income: $79,173 — 202nd highest of 3,072 counties

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46. Oktibbeha County, Mississippi
> Homeownership rate: 49.7%
> Median home value: $165,000 — 1,008th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,295 — 971st highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $360 — 783rd lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $39,490 — 312th lowest of 3,072 counties

45. Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota
> Homeownership rate: 49.6%
> Median home value: $35,000 — 2nd lowest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $850 — 56th lowest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $373 — 938th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $31,423 — 54th lowest of 3,072 counties

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44. Muscogee County, Georgia
> Homeownership rate: 49.1%
> Median home value: $142,900 — 1,389th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,277 — 1,034th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $383 — 1,089th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $47,418 — 921st lowest of 3,072 counties

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43. Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
> Homeownership rate: 49.1%
> Median home value: $164,200 — 1,015th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,459 — 551st highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $623 — 191st highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $52,260 — 1,473rd lowest of 3,072 counties

42. Sioux County, North Dakota
> Homeownership rate: 48.7%
> Median home value: $83,300 — 307th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,158 — 1,520th lowest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $286 — 80th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $41,893 — 465th lowest of 3,072 counties

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41. Grand Forks County, North Dakota
> Homeownership rate: 48.6%
> Median home value: $208,200 — 602nd highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,483 — 500th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $518 — 505th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $53,721 — 1,456th highest of 3,072 counties

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

40. Newport News city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 48.3%
> Median home value: $194,700 — 703rd highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,518 — 452nd highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $510 — 551st highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $54,511 — 1,367th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)

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39. Radford city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 48.2%
> Median home value: $171,000 — 929th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,265 — 1,071st highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $372 — 926th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $34,576 — 123rd lowest of 3,072 counties

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38. Baltimore city, Maryland
> Homeownership rate: 47.7%
> Median home value: $167,300 — 978th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,485 — 497th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $552 — 344th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $52,164 — 1,456th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)

37. Hopewell city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 47.1%
> Median home value: $126,100 — 1,371st lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,062 — 957th lowest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $381 — 1,055th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $43,262 — 570th lowest of 3,072 counties

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36. Todd County, South Dakota
> Homeownership rate: 47.0%
> Median home value: $26,600 — the lowest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $830 — 36th lowest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $299 — 149th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $24,102 — 5th lowest of 3,072 counties

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35. Brazos County, Texas
> Homeownership rate: 47.0%
> Median home value: $217,700 — 541st highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,669 — 302nd highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $606 — 223rd highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $50,289 — 1,212th lowest of 3,072 counties

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34. Christian County, Kentucky
> Homeownership rate: 46.9%
> Median home value: $121,000 — 1,250th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,133 — 1,353rd lowest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $374 — 949th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $44,279 — 652nd lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

33. North Slope Borough, Alaska
> Homeownership rate: 46.8%
> Median home value: $162,500 — 1,047th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,218 — 1,264th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $422 — 1,446th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $79,083 — 203rd highest of 3,072 counties

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32. Phillips County, Arkansas
> Homeownership rate: 46.1%
> Median home value: $80,800 — 253rd lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $974 — 457th lowest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $338 — 490th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $33,724 — 105th lowest of 3,072 counties

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31. Liberty County, Georgia
> Homeownership rate: 46.0%
> Median home value: $133,700 — 1,520th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,177 — 1,440th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $421 — 1,460th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $50,411 — 1,223rd lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)

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30. Los Angeles County, California
> Homeownership rate: 46.0%
> Median home value: $615,500 — 23rd highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $2,586 — 48th highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $637 — 174th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $71,358 — 338th highest of 3,072 counties

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29. Dougherty County, Georgia
> Homeownership rate: 45.9%
> Median home value: $106,200 — 861st lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,154 — 1,500th lowest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $456 — 1,012th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $40,947 — 398th lowest of 3,072 counties

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28. Queens County, New York
> Homeownership rate: 45.1%
> Median home value: $575,600 — 35th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $2,659 — 36th highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $908 — 35th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $72,028 — 316th highest of 3,072 counties

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27. Winchester city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 44.7%
> Median home value: $247,800 — 368th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,469 — 531st highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $525 — 464th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $61,102 — 804th highest of 3,072 counties

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26. Essex County, New Jersey
> Homeownership rate: 44.4%
> Median home value: $395,900 — 89th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $2,875 — 17th highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $1,344 — 4th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median household income: $63,959 — 628th highest of 3,072 counties

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25. Whitman County, Washington
> Homeownership rate: 44.2%
> Median home value: $230,200 — 464th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,527 — 443rd highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $473 — 850th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $42,288 — 503rd lowest of 3,072 counties

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24. St. Louis city, Missouri
> Homeownership rate: 44.1%
> Median home value: $143,700 — 1,378th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,281 — 1,016th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $466 — 911th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $45,782 — 773rd lowest of 3,072 counties

Source: Brett Taylor / Getty Images

23. Richmond city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 43.7%
> Median home value: $244,200 — 386th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,563 — 403rd highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $593 — 240th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $51,421 — 1,338th lowest of 3,072 counties

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22. Riley County, Kansas
> Homeownership rate: 43.6%
> Median home value: $205,900 — 619th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,589 — 379th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $597 — 233rd highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $51,098 — 1,292nd lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)

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21. Norfolk city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 43.5%
> Median home value: $215,800 — 552nd highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,590 — 378th highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $549 — 359th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $53,026 — 1,516th highest of 3,072 counties

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20. Alexandria city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 43.4%
> Median home value: $572,700 — 36th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $2,810 — 24th highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $999 — 20th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median household income: $102,227 — 43rd highest of 3,072 counties

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19. Arlington County, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 42.5%
> Median home value: $731,700 — 13th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $3,103 — 11th highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $985 — 23rd highest of 3,072 counties
> Median household income: $122,604 — 7th highest of 3,072 counties

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18. District of Columbia, District of Columbia
> Homeownership rate: 42.5%
> Median home value: $618,100 — 21st highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $2,676 — 34th highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $735 — 100th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median household income: $90,842 — 85th highest of 3,072 counties

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17. Madison County, Idaho
> Homeownership rate: 41.7%
> Median home value: $229,800 — 467th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,316 — 910th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $385 — 1,117th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $44,419 — 664th lowest of 3,072 counties

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16. Geary County, Kansas
> Homeownership rate: 41.7%
> Median home value: $143,100 — 1,385th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,371 — 738th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $556 — 337th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $52,019 — 1,430th lowest of 3,072 counties

15. Emporia city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 41.0%
> Median home value: $121,600 — 1,260th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,224 — 1,234th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $355 — 740th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $30,058 — 36th lowest of 3,072 counties

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14. Harrisonburg city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 40.5%
> Median home value: $220,100 — 522nd highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,245 — 1,149th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $429 — 1,364th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $49,117 — 1,080th lowest of 3,072 counties

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13. Clarke County, Georgia
> Homeownership rate: 40.5%
> Median home value: $186,800 — 759th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,293 — 979th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $487 — 727th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $40,363 — 361st lowest of 3,072 counties

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12. Charlottesville city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 40.1%
> Median home value: $329,100 — 164th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,672 — 299th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $603 — 225th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $59,598 — 913th highest of 3,072 counties

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11. Fredericksburg city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 39.8%
> Median home value: $376,700 — 106th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,953 — 148th highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $566 — 305th highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $69,528 — 386th highest of 3,072 counties

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10. Tunica County, Mississippi
> Homeownership rate: 39.0%
> Median home value: $101,800 — 757th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,028 — 767th lowest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $345 — 595th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $34,485 — 121st lowest of 3,072 counties

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9. San Francisco County, California
> Homeownership rate: 38.0%
> Median home value: $1,152,300 — 2nd highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $3,822 — 2nd highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $743 — 94th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median household income: $119,136 — 12th highest of 3,072 counties

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8. Suffolk County, Massachusetts
> Homeownership rate: 36.3%
> Median home value: $547,300 — 39th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $2,451 — 53rd highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $836 — 55th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median household income: $74,881 — 261st highest of 3,072 counties

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7. Petersburg city, Virginia
> Homeownership rate: 36.1%
> Median home value: $111,800 — 1,019th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,163 — 1,508th highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $431 — 1,343rd highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $43,029 — 557th lowest of 3,072 counties

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6. Hudson County, New Jersey
> Homeownership rate: 32.4%
> Median home value: $400,800 — 86th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $2,821 — 23rd highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $1,155 — 11th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median household income: $75,062 — 260th highest of 3,072 counties

Source: divampo / iStock via Getty Images

5. Kings County, New York
> Homeownership rate: 30.3%
> Median home value: $734,800 — 12th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $2,946 — 14th highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $917 — 33rd highest of 3,072 counties
> Median household income: $63,973 — 627th highest of 3,072 counties

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4. Aleutians West Census Area, Alaska
> Homeownership rate: 27.7%
> Median home value: $316,700 — 180th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,993 — 131st highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $580 — 271st highest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $87,443 — 114th highest of 3,072 counties

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

3. Chattahoochee County, Georgia
> Homeownership rate: 24.3%
> Median home value: $82,000 — 277th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $1,160 — 1,531st highest of 3,071 counties (tied)
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $381 — 1,055th lowest of 3,072 counties (tied)
> Median household income: $45,700 — 767th lowest of 3,072 counties

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2. New York County, New York
> Homeownership rate: 24.1%
> Median home value: $1,024,500 — 6th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $3,509 — 6th highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $1,116 — 17th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median household income: $89,812 — 94th highest of 3,072 counties

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1. Bronx County, New York
> Homeownership rate: 20.1%
> Median home value: $427,900 — 73rd highest of 3,072 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (w/ a mortgage): $2,548 — 50th highest of 3,071 counties
> Median monthly housing costs (no mortgage): $825 — 59th highest of 3,072 counties
> Median household income: $41,895 — 466th lowest of 3,072 counties

Methodology 

To determine the counties and county equivalents with the lowest homeownership rates, 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.

Counties 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 county’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 county’s homeownership rate was above 15% and greater than two standard deviations above the mean CV for all counties’ homeownership rates. We similarly excluded counties that had a sampling error too high for their population, using the same definition.

Counties 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.

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.

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