US housing stock continues to age, encouraging spending on home improvement


The median age of owner-occupied homes is 40 years, according to the latest data from the 2021 American Community Survey[1]. The U.S. owner-occupied housing stock is aging rapidly especially after the Great Recession, as the residential construction continues to fall behind in the number of new homes built. With a lack of sufficient supply of new construction, the aging housing stock signals a growing remodeling market, as old structures need to add new amenities or repair/replace old components. Rising home prices also encourage homeowners to spend more on home improvement. Over the long run, the aging of the housing stock implies that remodeling may grow faster than new construction.

A little less than half of the owner-occupied homes was built before 1980, with around 35% built before 1970. New construction added nearly 8.3 million units to the national stock from 2010 to 2021, accounting for only 10% of owner-occupied housing stock in 2021. Owner-occupied homes constructed between 2000 and 2009 make up 15% of the housing stock.

Due to modest supply of housing construction, the share of new construction built within past 11 years declined greatly, from 17% in 2011 to only 10% in 2021. Meanwhile, the share of housing stock at least 42 years old experienced a significant increase over the 10 years ago. The share in 2021 was 49% compared to 40% in 2011.

[1] : Census Bureau did not release the standard 2020 1-year American Community Survey (ACS) due to the data collection disruptions experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data quality issues for some topics remain in the experimental estimates of the 2020 data[1]. To be cautious, the 2020 experimental data is not included in the analysis.


According to, the average lifespan of a home is 100+ years. Given the average lifespan of a home, do you expect the median age of a home to continue to increase?

Further, here is an excellent list of the average lifespan of various parts of a home. I wonder if the cost of replacing various parts of a home ever increases beyond the value of the home or the cost of building a new home?

HVAC system Time
Central air conditioning 7-15 years
Furnace and gas fireplaces 15-25 years
Boiler and electric radiant heater 40 years
Ducting 60-100 years
Chimney cap (concrete) 100+ years
Plumbing system Time
Kitchen sink (enameled steel) 5-10+ years
Water heater (conventional) 6-12 years
Bathtub/shower (fiberglass) 20 years
Kitchen sink (acrylic) 50 years
Waste pipes (cast iron) 50-60 years
Waste pipes (ABS or PVC) 50-80 years
Bathtub (cast iron) and toilet 100 years
Waste pipes (concrete) 100+ years
Appliances and fixtures Time
Air conditioner (window) 5-7 years
Washing machine 5-15 years
Trash compactor 6 years
Dishwasher and microwave 9 years
Refrigerator 9-13 years
Dryer 13 years
Freezer 10-20 years
Whole-house vacuum system 20 years

Source: International Association of Certified Home Inspectors