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Counties With Improved Housing Availability Pre-COVID + 24 Affordable Housing Resources

Victoria Araj9-minute read

September 12, 2022

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The world’s population is growing at an unprecedented rate. In 2020, there were 331 million people recorded living in the United States, a 46% increase since 1980.1 With that, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered many aspects of our country, including the housing industry. To understand the landscape of real estate before the pandemic, we analyzed the historic housing availability in the U.S., specifically which counties have the most improved housing availability.

To understand which counties had the most improvement historically, we looked at available housing units from 2010 – 2019 data from the recorded 3,142 counties in the U.S. We then adjusted the housing difference based on the average size of households in the United States in 2010 and 2019, at 2.59 and 2.52 people per household, respectively.

Learn which counties had the most improved housing plus affordable housing resources to help buy your new home.

Key Findings

Table Of Contents

    10 Counties With Most Improved Housing Availability

    20 Counties With The Most Improved Housing Availability

    Below is a full list of the top 20 U.S. counties with the most improved housing units per capita between 2010 and 2019:

    1. Kings County, New York

    • County population (2019): 2,559,903
    • Available housing units (2019): 1,065,399
    • Change in housing unit surplus (2010 – 2019): 16,337

    Kings County, also known as the borough of Brooklyn, is home to many attractions and parks, including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Luna Park in Coney Island. There’s also no limit to its sightseeing spots, like the famous Brooklyn Bridge that lies across the East River.

    The county’s available housing per capita is historically ranked to have been the most improved between 2010 – 2019, with a recorded 1,065,399 housing units available in 2019. Between ‘10 – ‘19, the housing surplus increased by 16,300 units.

    2. New York County, New York

    • County population (2019): 1,628,706
    • Available housing units (2019): 892,878
    • Change in housing unit surplus (2010 – 2019): 11,782

    Also known as the borough of Manhattan, New York County is the heart of the Big Apple and is home to the recognizable Central Park. With a significant population size of 1,628,706, there is no end to the number of attractions and restaurants to see, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a view of the Statue of Liberty. The county had a recorded 892,878 available housing units in 2019. Between ‘10 – ‘19, the housing surplus increased by 11,700 units.

    3. Davidson County, Tennessee

    • County population (2019): 694,144
    • Available housing units (2019): 325,454
    • Change in housing unit surplus (2010 – 2019): 7,984

    As the second most populous county in Tennessee, Davidson County is home to Nashville, also known as Music City. If you’re a fan of country music, check out the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the famous Grand Ole Opry.

    From outdoor concert venues to wine tasting, there are plenty of excursions for both visitors and residents to enjoy.  The county had a recorded 325,454 available housing units in 2019, allowing loads of room for newcomers to flourish and enjoy authentic country music. Between ‘10 – ‘19, the housing surplus increased by 7,900 units.

    4. El Paso County, Texas

    • County population (2019): 839,238
    • Available housing units (2019): 301,462
    • Change in housing unit surplus (2010 – 2019): 7,254

    Sitting on the western edge of the state, El Paso County is rich in Mexican frontier history and historic cultural attractions, including the National Border Patrol Museum and the El Paso Mission Trail. 

    You can find several popular outdoor attractions in the area, such as Franklin Mountains State Park and Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site. The county had a recorded 301,462 available housing units in 2019. Between ‘10 – ‘19, El Paso County saw a housing increase of 7,200 units.

    5. St. Clair County, Illinois

    • County population (2019): 259,686
    • Available housing units (2019): 121,079
    • Change in housing unit surplus (2010 – 2019): 6,049

    As the oldest county in Illinois, St. Clair County offers historical attractions that provide opportunities to learn more about its French colonial influences, such as the Belleville Labor and Industry Museum and numerous historical brick homes.

    If you like the city, the metropolitan St. Louis area is just a quick 30-minute drive away and has many public institutions to explore, from the Gateway Arch National Park to the Missouri Botanical Garden. The county had a recorded 121,079 available housing units in 2019. Between ‘10 – ‘19, the housing surplus increased by 6,000 units.

    6. St. Louis County, Missouri

    • County population (2019): 300,576
    • Available housing units (2019): 177,403
    • Change in housing unit surplus (2010 – 2019): 5,404

    Right next door to St. Clair County sits St. Louis County, Missouri. Both share sides of St. Louis City, so its amenities and destinations are just as in reach for those who reside in St. Louis County. If you’re a fan of amusement parks, you can check out Six Flags St. Louis. If you like to tour more historical sites, you can explore the National Museum of Transportation or the contemporary Laumeier Sculpture Park. The county had a recorded 177,402 available housing units in 2019. Between ‘10 – ‘19, the housing surplus increased by 5,400 units.

    7. Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

    • County population (2019): 348,899
    • Available housing units (2019): 170,864
    • Change in housing unit surplus (2010 – 2019): 5,205

    If you enjoy exploring all things colonial America, Westmoreland County has many historical sites to see, including the Bushy Run Battlefield and Compass Inn Museum. The county offers numerous trails and parks to walk through, including the Coal and Coke Trail and Five Star Trail. The county had a recorded 170,864 available housing units in 2019. Between ‘10 – ‘19, the housing surplus increased by 5,200 units.

    8. Onondaga County, New York

    • County population (2019): 460,528
    • Available housing units (2019): 209,729
    • Change in housing unit surplus (2010 – 2019): 4,942

    Onondaga County is most known for the city of Syracuse, with plenty of restaurants to dine at and museums to see. Enjoy learning rich history in the Erie Canal Museum, picking up fresh vegetables and fruits in the Central New York Regional Market and checking out the fascinating exhibits at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. The county had a recorded 209,729 available housing units in 2019. Between ‘10 – ‘19, the housing surplus increased by 4,900 units.

    9. Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

    • County population (2019): 1,216,045
    • Available housing units (2019): 604,258
    • Change in housing unit surplus (2010 – 2019): 4,835

    Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has something for everyone to enjoy, from sporting events to historical museums to outdoor activities. The most known destinations include the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Pittsburgh Zoo and the Andy Warhol Museum. The county had a recorded 604,258 available housing units in 2019. Between ‘10 – ‘19, the housing surplus increased by 4,800 units.

    10. Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana

    • County population (2019): 203,436
    • Available housing units (2019): 93,183
    • Change in housing unit surplus (2010 – 2019): 4,824

    Created in 1840 as one of the nineteen civil parishes established by the Louisiana Legislature, Calcasieu Parish sits near the coast of Louisiana and offers many scenic walking paths and wildlife harbors, including the Creole Nature Trail. It’s also a popular fishing destination, with popular spots like Alligator Park and Calcasieu Point Landing. The county had a recorded 93,183 available housing units in 2019. Between ‘10 – ‘19, 4,800 more housing units per capita were added. Between ‘10 – ‘19, the housing surplus increased by 4,800 units.

    Below are the top 20 counties with the most improved housing availability between 2010 – 2019:

     

    Rank

    County

    County Population (2019)

    Housing Unit Surplus (2019)

    Change In Housing Unit Surplus (2010 – 2019)

    1

    Kings County, NY

     

    2,559,903

    49,564

    16,337

    2

    New York County, NY

     

    1,628,706

    246,566

    11,782

    3

    Davidson County, TN

     

    694,144

    50,000

    7,984

    4

    El Paso County, TX

    839,238

    -31,569

    7,254

    5

    St. Clair County, IL

     

    259,686

    18,029

    6,049

    6

    St. Louis County, MO

     

    300,576

    58,127

    5,404

    7

    Westmoreland County, PA

    348,899

    32,412

    5,205

    8

    Onondaga County, NY

     

    460,528

    26,980

    4,942

    9

    Allegheny County, PA

    1,216,045

    121,700

    4,835

    10

    Calcasieu Parish, LA

     

    203,436

    12,454

    4,824

    11

    Lake County, IN

     

    485,493

    22,029

    4,787

    12

    Sumter County, FL

     

    132,420

    21,694

    4,738

    13

    Caddo Parish, LA

     

    240,204

    18,258

    4,674

    14

    Anchorage Municipality, AK

     

    288,000

    4,990

    4,632

    15

    Sussex County, DE

     

    234,225

    51,128

    4,209

    16

    Cambria County, PA

     

    130,192

    14,384

    4,208

    17

    East Baton Rouge Parish, LA

     

    440,059

    21,518

    4,116

    18

    Genesee County, MI

     

    405,813

    31,865

    4,083

    19

    Erie County, PA

    269,728

    14,823

    4,012

    20

    New London County, CT

     

    265,206

    18,993

    3,811

    6 National Affordable Housing Resources

    If you’re planning to buy a new home or relocate to a county with an abundance of housing availability, there are many resources and programs available to aid you during this transition. Here are six affordable housing resources that may be available to you in any part of the United States.

    1. Housing Assistance Council

    The Housing Assistance Council is a national nonprofit organization that focuses on offering resources and efforts throughout rural American communities. The organization grants loans to rural housing developers to support the development of low-income housing standards.

    To learn more about housing assistance, navigate to its website and click on the “Looking For Housing?” tab. This will take you to a HUD Exchange site that lists a number of housing assistance links organized by broad categories such as housing assistance, health and safety, and food, and includes resources like assistance for those experiencing from homelessness and veteran housing aid.

    2. NAHMA

    Also known as the National Affordable Housing Management Association, NAHMA advocates for quality affordable housing providers and multifamily property managers. 

    To find an affordable housing provider through NAHMA, navigate to the NAHMA Affordable 100 page. This page lists 100 management companies and details where they are located and the number of units each company looks over. From there, click on individual companies to learn more about their offerings.

    3. National Low Income Housing Coalition

    The National Low Income Housing Coalition is a nonprofit organization that works to end the U.S.’s national housing crisis. They offer both state and local rental assistance to renters and landlords and explore policy issues and housing needs by state. 

    To find rental resources, go to the website and navigate to the State and Local Renters Assistance page. This page organizes 505 programs by state and which communities they serve. It also includes if the program is actively accepting applications or not.

    4. Local Initiatives Support Corp.

    The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is a nonprofit community development institution that supports affordable community life in 2,100 rural counties in 44 U.S. states. It provides programs that support financial stability, affordable housing, health and community leadership.

    To find affordable housing resources provided by LISC, go to the website to find the Affordable Housing program area page. This page links to available grants and loans, as well as current programs, such as its Bring Them Homes program, which creates available housing for people experiencing homelessness and at-risk veterans.

    5. National Housing and Rehabilitation Center

    The National Housing and Rehabilitation Association is an association for multifamily and affordable housing owners and developers. The institution focuses on targeting affordable housing issues and the tax credit industry in the U.S.

    To find out more about its available resources, navigate to the website and select the resources tab. This page includes funding and business opportunities, as well as industry employment opportunities.

    6. The HOME Program

    The HOME Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is used to provide affordable housing opportunities to low-income individuals in the form of block grants.

    To find out if your community uses the HOME Program, search “Home Program” with your state and/or county to find your state government’s program site. From there, the page should describe eligibility requirements for application, as well as how to apply for the program to receive assistance.

    18 Affordable Housing Resources By Region

    If you’re looking for more localized resources, here are some affordable housing resources and programs organized by regions.

    West Coast

    The West Coast regional states include California, Alaska, Washington, Hawaii and Oregon.

    Southwest

    The Southwest regional states include Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming and Texas.

    Midwest

    The Midwest regional states include Wisconsin, Ohio, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Illinois.

    East Coast

    The East Coast regional states include North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts and Virginia. 

     

    Methodology

    To analyze the counties with the most improved housing units per capita between 2010 and 2019, we compared U.S. Census Bureau data for available housing units and the population from 2010 – 2019. We divided the population by the average household size in 2010 and 2019: 2.59 people and 2.52 people, respectively.

    There are affordable housing and low-income moving programs that can offer you financial assistance. Before securing a home loan, evaluate your finances and understand the assistance programs that are available to you.

    Sources:

    1USAFacts

    Victoria Araj

    Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.