Most U.S. Homes Built Before the Reagan Administration


With age comes wisdom… along with achy muscles, creaky joints and thinning hair. And as the median age of Americans continues to rise,  so too does the age of the nation’s housing stock.

Girls Playing in Front of 1960s HouseCensus data reveal the median age of owner-occupied housing has increased to 37 years old, meaning half of all homes in the U.S. were built prior to 1980 — before Ronald Reagan took office, before Michael Jackson first performed “Thriller” and long before M*A*S*H aired its last episode.

As NAHB economist Na Zhao wrote in a recent post for Eye On Housing, the aging housing stock is largely the cyclical effect of residential construction’s modest pace combined with ever-rising home prices. Those factors are compelling many home owners to simply stay put and consider updating their current home.

Interestingly, 70% of homes built after 2010 are owned by people under the age of 55, while homes built before 1980 are largely owned by baby boomers. Zhao notes this points to significant growth potential within the aging-in-place market, as home owners increasingly pursue home renovation projects to enable them to live safely and more comfortably as they get older.




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