A new housing brief from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that median home values in many small counties across the nation held steady after the most recent recession, while values in large counties declined.
These findings come from the Census Bureau’s brief, Home Value and Homeownership Rates: Recession and Post-Recession Comparisons From 2007-2009 to 2010-2012, which uses the American Community Survey three-year estimates to focus on homeownership rates and home values for smaller areas.
The small-area statistics from the American Community Survey show that in 66.9 percent of the 1,038 smaller counties (with populations between 20,000 and 65,000) the median home value in the post-recession period of 2010-2012 was not statistically different from the recession period of 2007-2009. Similarly, the median home values in 37 of the 50 smallest counties of this size were not statistically different from the recession period.
In contrast, median home values in 43 of the 50 largest counties declined over the same period. Nationally, the median home value was $174,600 in the post-recession period, a $17,300 decline from the recession period of 2007-2009.
"The American Community Survey is the only data source that has the capability to show us, how the economic situation in these smaller counties compares with the nation as a whole, as measured by these key housing indicators," said Arthur Cresce, an assistant division chief with the Census Bureau's Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division. "The American Community Survey statistics are important because local businesses, local governments as well as homebuyers and renters can use it to make informed investment, policy and personal decisions."
In addition to housing statistics, more than 40 topics are available with today's release, such as educational attainment, employment, commuting, language spoken at home, nativity and ancestry. For the first time, comparison profiles are also available for the three-year statistics, allowing smaller communities to compare changes over time in their social, economic and housing characteristics more easily.
Nationally, the homeownership rate declined by 1.7 percent to 64.7 percent in 2010-2012 from the previous three-year period. The change in homeownership rates from the previous three-year period for the 50 most populous counties ranged from a decrease of 0.4 percent in Westchester County, N.Y., to a decrease of 4.7 percent in Maricopa County, Ariz. The 50 least populous counties ranged from a decrease of 9.5 percent in Warren County, N.C., to an increase of 8.5 percent in Gonzales County, Texas.
The District of Columbia had the lowest homeownership rate at 41.6 percent followed by New York at 53.9 percent. West Virginia had the highest homeownership rate (72.9 percent) and lowest median home value ($98,300), while Hawaii had the highest median home value ($503,100) in 2010-2012. Only nine states did not show a significant change in homeownership rates between the recession and post-recession periods; all other states had lower homeownership rates.
Of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in terms of population, 49 had a significant decrease in their homeownership rates. The only metropolitan area whose homeownership rate did not decline from 2007-2009 to 2010-2012 was the Oklahoma City area, which was unchanged at 65.2 percent.
The American Community Survey provides a wide range of important statistics about all communities in the country. The American Community Survey gives communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Retailers, homebuilders, police departments, and town and city planners are among the many private- and public-sector decision makers who count on these annual results. Ever since Thomas Jefferson directed the first census in 1790, the census has collected detailed characteristics about our nation's people. Beginning in the fall of 2013, the Census Bureau is undertaking a review of all questions on the American Community Survey.
The Census Bureau uses information from three years of the American Community Survey in order to have more accurate statistics for smaller areas. These areas are better measured using the larger three-year sample data files to produce updated and reliable statistics for small areas.
In addition to the housing brief released today, another brief titled Noncitizens Under Age 35: 2010-2012 will be released in the coming weeks focusing on the noncitizen population using the three-year statistics. On Dec. 17, 2013, the Census Bureau will release a set of American Community Survey statistics based on data collected between 2008 and 2012. These statistics will be available for all geographies regardless of population size, down to the block group level. For the first time, health insurance coverage statistics will be available for places with populations smaller than 20,000.
On Sept. 19, 2013, the Census Bureau released the 2012 American Community Survey one-year statistics for places of 65,000 or more.
The Census Bureau produces other housing surveys in addition to the housing statistics found in the American Community Survey. Other surveys include the American Housing Survey, the Housing Vacancy and Homeownership Survey and housing-related economic indicators such as New Residential Construction.