Report: Parts of Conn. have some of the oldest homes in U.S.
Two Connecticut regions — the Hartford metropolitan area and Fairfield County — ranked among the cities with the oldest housing in the country, according to a new report.
The regions each had median house ages of 53 years, according to a new study from the Inspection Support Network. The study drew from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data.
The Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown metropolitan area was ranked 10th on the list of large metros with the oldest housing. The top-ranked area was Buffalo-Cheektowaga in New York, where the median house age was 63, according to the report.
The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area was ranked 12th on the list of midsize metros with the oldest housing. The topranked area was ScrantonWilkes Barre in Pennsylvania.
The report uses Bridgeport metro to refer to all of Fairfield County, spokesperson Mike LaFirenza said.
The Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown region has 100,927 housing units that were built before 1940. That’s nearly 20 percent of the housing stock.
Just 49,874 of the units were built after 2000, representing just 10 percent of the housing stock.
In the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area, just over 12.1 percent of existing housing units were built since the year 2000, compared to almost 19 percent built before 1940.
The Northeast region had the oldest median housing because it’s “where cities have been established for longer and their higher densities make new construction more difficult,” the report says.
While it’s the first time the group has compiled this report, it’s unlikely that the numbers would fluctuate much year to year, LaFirenza said.
“Given the generally slow pace of new construction relative to the existing housing stock (especially in the Northeast), these numbers don’t change much from year to year,” he wrote in response to questions from Hearst Connecticut Media Group.
Owners are more likely than renters to live in newer housing, and new housing tends to have higher home values, the report says.
A National Association of Home Builders survey shows that 60 percent of homeowners would prefer new housing. The shift began in 2020, the survey says.
Homebuyers were concerned about touring housing that was already occupied because of COVID-19, new houses have more features they wanted and new homes were more likely to be located in the suburbs where buyers wanted to live as they sought more space, the survey says.
Building multi-family rental housing also often comes with challenges that single-family residential does not.
Connecticut advocates have argued that restrictive zoning laws in the state prevent multi-family housing from going up. Desegregate Connecticut, a group formed in 2020, has argued for ways to expand the diversity and supply of our housing stock,” according to its website.
“Restrictive zoning laws are a real impediment to building new and affordable housing in many locales,” LaFirenza said.
And new construction has been slowed further by the pandemic, which drove supply costs up.
“New housing construction took a massive hit in the early days of the pandemic and then rebounded to above pre-pandemic levels,” LaFirenza said. “However, in recent months new construction has slowed down significantly.”
Experts have said that supply chain issues are further slowing residential construction.