The national homeownership rate might be down, but it’s still going strong in these states

Aly J. Yale
Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports Contributor
September 3, 2019 - 2 min read

West Virginia wins at homeownership

The rate of homeownership has declined nationally over the last decade, but in some states, it’s stronger than ever. In fact, in West Virginia, a whopping 73 percent of residents own a home.

Where the homeownership rate is highest

According to new data from home services website, West Virginia claims the highest homeownership rate in the country. Nearly three-quarters of state residents owning a home.

Maine and Minnesota tie for second, with 72 percent homeownership rates. Delaware, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Vermont all claim 71 percent.

First-time homebuyers: Here’s where you can find affordable housing

Homeownership is lowest in Washington, D.C., where a mere four in 10 residents owns a home. New York and California are also on the low end, with a 54 percent and 55 percent homeownership rate, respectively.

According to the report, the low rates may have something to do with the local tech scenes in these markets.

“Washington, D.C., and several cities in California are often considered among the best places in the U.S. for tech-related jobs, although research suggests employees don’t stay for very long at these companies,” report. “Major tech brands like Dropbox, Tesla, and Square maintain employees for roughly two years on average, perhaps contributing to a large volume of residents leaving those areas and resisting homeownership.”

The cost of homeownership vs. renting over 3. 5 and 7 years

Affordability plays a big role

Homeownership rates also fall in line with overall affordability. West Virginia residents pay just 12 percent of their income to own a home, while in California, residents need to commit nearly 23 percent of theirs.

“In California, the median price of a single-family home is $549,000, but you could pay more than twice that in some of the state’s busiest cities,” the report states. “In Los Angeles, the median home price is nearly $899,000, and in Silicon Valley, owning a home could cost anywhere from $1,099,000 (San Jose) to $1,400,000 (San Francisco).”

Other states and territories that require a low share of income include North Dakota (12.1 percent), Puerto Rico (13.4 percent), Louisiana (14.1 percent), South Dakota (14.6 percent), Arkansas (14.7 percent), and Mississippi (14.8 percent).

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