Number of Old Homes in US 'Eye-Opening'

Number of Old Homes in US 'Eye-Opening'

Residential News » North America Residential News Edition | By Francys Vallecillo | October 31, 2013 10:23 AM ET

More than 70 percent of all single family homes in the U.S. are more than 23 years old, a new report from RealtyTrac found. 

The stock of old homes, defined as homes built before 1990, accounted for 60 percent of national year-to-date sales.

"The high percentage of homes that are at least 20 years old and likely in need of some major repairs is eye-opening," said Jake Adger, chief economist at RealtyTrac. "However, given the low inventory of homes available for sale in today's market, this challenge of aging U.S. housing supply can also be an opportunity for buyers looking for a bargain and homeowners looking to update their living space and improve the value of their homes."

The stock of older homes varies from state to state, the report found. Homes older than 1990 represented more than 80 percent of year-to-date sales in 14 states: Louisiana, Vermont, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Mexico, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Illinois, West Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.  

On the other hand, older homes made up less than 40 percent of 2013 sales in Utah and Nevada, RealtyTrac reports. 

The age of the homes are a factor in sales prices. For homes built in 1990 or later, the average price year-to-date was $256,292, while the sales price for homes built before 1990 averaged $233,221. 

"The lower price point on older homes is not surprising given many are in need of some rehab and are more likely to have maintenance issues," Mr. Adger said. "But this also presents an opportunity for buyers willing to take on that older inventory. Those buyers can purchase at lower price points and face less competition from institutional investors."

The government does offering financing through the Federal Housing Administration's 203(k) program to help homeowners rehab their aging homes, the firm notes.

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