74.7%: West Virginia Leads Nation in Homeownership Rate; New York and California Rank Last

By Terence P. Jeffrey | April 9, 2019 | 1:07 PM EDT

(Getty Images/David S. Holloway)

(CNSNews.com) - West Virginia ranked No. 1 among the 50 states for its homeownership rate in 2018, which was 74.7 percent, according to new housing data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

New York and California ranked 50th and 49th with homeownership rates of 51.0 and 55.1, according to Table 15 in the Census Bureau’s Annual Statistics on Housing Vacancies and Homeownership.

The Census Bureau calculates the homeownership rate by dividing the number of owner occupied housing units by the total number of occupied housing units.

In 2018, according to the Census Bureau, there were a total of 138,449,000 housing units in the United States, but 16,991,000 of them were vacant.

Of the 121,458,000 housing units that were occupied in 2018 in the United States, 78,211,000—or 64.4 percent—were occupied by owners. The other 43,247,000—or 35.6 percent—were occupied by what the Census Bureau classifies as renters.

Colorado, which ranked 39th among the states for its homeownership rate, matched the national rate of 64.4 percent. Eleven states had homeownership rates below the national rate. These included Georgia (63.8); Alaska (63.7); Texas (62.7); Oregon (62.0); North Dakota (61.9); Massachusetts (61.5); Rhode Island (60.7); Hawaii (59.5); Nevada (57.8); California (55.1) and New York (51.0).

The ten states with the highest homeownership rates were: West Virginia (74.7 percent); New Hampshire (73.4); Michigan (73.0); Mississippi (72.5); Utah (72.2); South Carolina (72.0); Vermont (71.4); Maine (71.2); Wyoming (71.1); and Delaware (70.8).

The Census Bureau defines a housing unit as follows: “A housing unit is a house, an apartment, a group of rooms, or a single room occupied or intended for occupancy as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which occupants do no live and eat with other persons in the structure and which have direct access from the outside of the building or through a common hall.”

“A unit is owner occupied,” says the Census Bureau, “if the owner or co-owner lives in the unit, even if it is mortgaged or not fully paid for. A cooperative or condominium unit is ‘owner occupied’ only if the owner or co-owner lives in it. All other occupied units are classified as ‘renter occupied,’ including units rented for cash rent and those occupied without payment of cash rent.”

[This Census Bureau table shows the bureau's estimates for the total housing inventory in the United in 2016, 2017 and 2018 with numbers shown in the thousands.]

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