By Erik J. Martin, CTW Features
There’s strength in numbers, they say. And that’s certainly true when it comes to owning a home and the areas around the country that enjoy higher rates of homeownership.
Curious which states have the most impressive homeownership rates? According to first quarter 2022 data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, West Virginia has the highest rate of homeownership at 79.6%, followed by South Carolina (76.3%), Delaware (75.6%), Iowa (75.6%), and Maine (75.6%).
The states with the lowest homeownership rates include Hawaii (59%), New York (54.3%), California (54.2%), and the District of Columbia (40.3%).
Why are these numbers significant? The homeownership rate signifies more robust demand for housing in that state.
“This indicates that an area will likely have a relatively low cost of living, a good property tax base, and lots of good middle-class jobs to support all of these homeowners,” says Martin Orefice, founder of Rent to Own Labs.
This is good news for homeowners in those states, “as it means that their home will likely hold its value,” says Joshua Haley, founder of Moving Astute. “Additionally, a high homeownership rate usually indicates that there are good opportunities for investment in the state, as there will likely be a lot of people looking to buy homes there.”
A state with a high rate of homeownership will have a greater sense of community, too, according to Dennis Shirshikov, professor of economics and finance with City University of New York and strategist at Awning.com.
“With fewer people moving in and out, schools, community centers, parks, and local businesses all benefit,” he says. “It creates more stable neighborhoods and communities.”
Furthermore, states with high homeownership rates tend to have lower median home prices and renting rates, per Jodi Hall, president of Nationwide Mortgage Bankers Inc., in Melville, New York.
“In these states, homes are more affordable, and renting is not as popular as in other states,” Hall says. “Among the top 10 states with the highest homeownership rates, only one state exceeds a typical home price over $300,000.”
Additionally, high homeownership rate states often promise a higher quality of life, “so residents may find that they enjoy living there more than in other states,” Haley adds.
Orefice says states ranked near the top of the list often share a lot of commonalities.
“They have lots of small towns and rural areas without much population turnover, meaning there are a lot of legacy homeowners and few new developments. This keeps prices down for those who do move into the area,” he says. “None of the states at the top of the list are known for their big cities.”
If you are considering moving out of state, do your homework. While it’s wise to consider the homeownership rate within your new targeted state, consider other factors as well before committing to a home purchase and a relocation.
“First, ponder your personal finances to ensure you are in a good position to take on a mortgage. Second, consider your job security and the likelihood of being employed for the foreseeable future. Third, look closely at the schools in the area and the quality of education provided. Fourth, review the cost of living in the area and determine if it is affordable. Also, think about your personal preferences and what would make you happy living in that state,” suggests Haley.
Ask Orefice and he’ll tell you that the availability of good jobs in the state and near the area where you want to purchase “should rank near the top of your list, except for people who are allowed to work remotely.”
Finally, consider proximity to family and friends, social opportunities, quality of community services, crime rate, tax rates, and political leanings within your intended new location.