If you want to hang out in a nice house, try befriending someone in the 45-54 age cohort. They own the priciest homes, according to a new Census Bureau report that analyzes data from 2000. The median value of single-family houses is $131,100 among owner-occupiers age 45-54. The 35-44s (median house value: $128,800) are close behind, followed by the 55-64s ($124,000). The figure falls to $113,800 among the 25-34s, to $108,300 among those 65-74 and to $95,500 among those 75 and older. If old folks typically inhabit cheaper houses, perhaps it’s because their houses also tend to be old. Much as Americans talk of coveting charming old houses, the newest homes have the highest median value (see the chart). In a geographic breakdown of the data, median values of single-family houses were highest in the West ($171,000) and lowest in the South ($96,300), with the Northeast ($139,400) and Midwest ($105,500) falling in between. Among places with population of 100,000-plus, seven of the top 10 in median house value were in the San Francisco Bay area. Places with the lowest house values were largely in the Rust Belt or in Texas, with Flint, Mich., having the lowest of all ($49,700). Cambridge, Mass., has the distinction of being the place with the highest proportion of homes worth $1 million or more (11.6 percent of owner-occupied homes there). For the U.S. as a whole, 0.6 percent of homes are in that price range. Among other info-tidbits in the report: 70 percent of owner-occupied homes are mortgaged and 30 percent are not. And the ones with mortgages have a higher median value ($128,800 vs. $96,900).
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