Kent County has one of the highest percentages of young homeowners in the country. Tierra Mallorca photo from Unsplash.

Kent ranks 5th in country for young homeowners

Ken MammarellaCulture, Headlines

Kent County has one of the highest percentages of young homeowners in the country. Tierra Mallorca photo from Unsplash.

Kent County has one of the highest percentages of young homeowners in the country. Tierra Mallorca photo from Unsplash.

This Old House, a media empire that for decades has been extolling old houses, just looked at how each generation approaches homeownership and what drives the decision to plant roots or seek new horizons. And Delaware makes a prominent appearance.

Dover is No. 5 on a list it compiled of the country’s metropolitan areas for the greatest percentage of homeowners who are 34 or younger, with 20%.

No. 1 on that list is Jacksonville, North Carolina, at 30.7%, and the last is The Villages, Florida, at 2.2%. Philadelphia is somewhere in the middle at 10.2%.

The U.S. Census takes the nation’s 3,000-plus counties and organizes 387 metropolitan statistical areas that include a city of at least 10,000 and one or more counties. So “Dover” really means “Kent County.” And “Philadelphia” means “Philadelphia; New Castle County; Cecil County, Maryland; four counties in South Jersey; and four more counties in Pennsylvania.”

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One strong reason for large percentages of young homeowners involves military families. Dover, along with No. 1 Jacksonville, North Carolina; No. 3 Clarksville, Tennessee; No. 6 Hinesville, Georgia; and No. 9, Manhattan, Kansas; are all smallish towns with large military bases.

Other homeowner lists

  • Homeowners who have been in their homes for 24 years or more: For Dover, that’s 19.2%. For Philadelphia, that’s 32.3%. The highest is Johnstown, Pennsylvania, at 49.7%. The lowest is The Villages, at 6.9%.
  • Homeowners who have been in their homes for five years or less: For Dover, that’s 30.6%. For Philadelphia, that’s 23.3%. The highest is Jacksonville, at 49%. The lowest is Johnstown, at 14.9%.
  • Homeowners who are 75 or older: For Dover, 28.3%. For Philadelphia, 28.6%. The lowest is Provo, Utah, at 18.7%. One more time for The Villages to be at the top or bottom, with 66.1%. The top 10 areas on this list are all in Florida or Arizona.

This Old House studied census data and numbers from the American Community Survey and surveyed 1,008 homeowners for its coverage.

Survey says …

  • “37% of homeowners plan to live in their current residence forever. This trend was most pronounced among baby boomers (52%), with 37% of this generation saying it was due to their area’s favorable climate.”
  • “In contrast, Gen X homeowners were most likely to remain in their current homes for family-related reasons (43%). Gen Xers (sometimes called the “sandwich generation”) often have more family members to care for, such as aging parents, children who have yet to leave the nest, or both.
  • “Younger generations also had distinct motivations. Millennials (26%) and Gen Zers (27%) prioritized local school quality when deciding to stay in their current homes. This was in clear contrast to the 9% of baby boomers who considered good schools a deciding factor.
  • “Overall, respondents agreed that the most important reasons for not moving were the affordability of their current homes, connections to the communities and neighborhoods in which they lived, and their families.
  • “The perfect neighborhood means different things to people. The second most common reason newer residents had for wanting to stick around was local school quality (27%). However, those who had been in their homes longer preferred to stay for reasons related to family (48%) or their personal history in the current city (36%).
  • “Baby boomers were primarily motivated to move for retirement reasons or to be closer to family (36% for each reason). Gen Xers were more politically driven to move—17% were leaving due to dissatisfaction with local governance and 13% due to the area’s political climate.
  • “Nearly one-third of the homeowners we surveyed anticipated leaving their current residences in the foreseeable future, and 20% had already made moving plans. Those respondents planning a move were optimistic about their financial futures, expecting an average property return on investment of 53%.”

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