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Census: Most Philly Homes Built Before 1950

By Nora Tooher

More than half of the city of Philadelphia's housing units were built more than 60 years ago.

Fifty-five percent of Philly's 668,497 total housing units were built before 1950; 72 percent were built before 1960, and 40 percent were built before 1940.

That's according to a report by Governing magazine, which gathered U.S. Census Bureau data about the age of housing stock in hundreds of U.S. cities.

Not surprisingly, the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metropolitan area has some of the oldest housing stock in the country, ranked at 17th for the highest proportion – 31.57 percent – of homes built before 1950.

The Scranton-Wilkes Barre metro has the oldest housing stock in the country, with 48.76 percent of its housing units built before 1950. The Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y., metro area is second, followed by Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.; Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, R.I.-Mass.; and Worcester, Mass.

Las Vegas has the smallest amount of older housing stock in the country, just ahead of Florida cities Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville and Port St. Lucie; and Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz.

Five Pennsylvania metros, including Philadelphia and Scranton, were in the top 25: Pittsburgh, ranked eighth; Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Penn.-N.J., 14th and Lancaster, 23rd.

Other states with more than 25 percent of older housing stock include Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Ohio.
Most of the metros with newer housing stock are in the Sunbelt states, including Florida, Texas and Arizona.

In between are many Western and Midwestern metros, including Omaha, Neb., where the median price of homes sold is $146,750 and the price of homes for rent is $945. About 22.5 percent of homes there are of older stock.

Los Angeles has 21.34 percent older homes, Indianapolis has 18.3 percent and Seattle has 16.5 percent.

Although older homes require more upkeep, property values in designated historic districts generally rise 5 percent to 35 percent more per decade than homes in undesignated neighborhoods in the same area, the Governing magazine report notes.