U.S. Cities With the Most Single-Family Homes

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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Construction Coverage.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the real estate market in the U.S. in many ways, changing where families want to live and the types of housing they prefer.

Early on in the pandemic, many families in densely populated urban areas set out for more spacious homes in rural or suburban areas. As more workplaces have adapted to permanent work-from-home or hybrid arrangements, some workers have made the move permanent, preferring space and affordability over proximity to the workplace or other amenities. And these pandemic-induced shifts have accelerated a trend away from cities among the millennial generation. At ages 25 to 40, Millennials are currently in their peak years for starting or growing a family and are seeking more spacious homes to accommodate that.

While as many as 89% of homebuyers would prefer a single-family home, these trends run counter to the direction of housing development in recent years. Apartments, multi-family construction, and other denser forms of housing have been presented as more efficient, affordable, and sustainable options than single-family homes. As a result, the share of new housing units authorized by building permits that are single-family dropped from nearly 80% at the peak of the U.S. housing bubble in 2005 to less than 60% a decade later. Recently, however, that share has begun to recover, rising from 62.2% to 66.6% from 2019 to 2020.

Americans’ preference for single-family homes extends into the rental market as well. More than two-thirds of renters (67.1%) live in multi-family units, compared with just 11.6% of owners. But during the pandemic, demand for single-family rentals has increased as well, which has pushed rents higher. According to CoreLogic, single-family rents rose 10.2% from September 2020 to September 2021 behind a surging demand for single-family properties, especially from those who have been priced out of the hot residential real estate market.

Large Cities With the Most Single-Family Homes

Happy senior couple in front of their house
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While an adequate supply of single-family homes is a current challenge, single-family units remain the norm in most places. Only one state — New York — has a majority of its housing in the form of multi-family units, with only 46.6% single-family units. In contrast, more than half of all states have 70% or more single-family units, led by Indiana and Kansas at 78.5% apiece.

In general, single-family homes tend to be more common in the Midwest and South and less common on the coasts. As a result, most of the large cities (more than 350,000 residents) with the most single-family homes are located in Midwestern and Southern states. But somewhat surprisingly, the large U.S. city with the greatest share of single-family homes is Bakersfield, California, with 76.2% single-family units — well above the overall share for California, 64.7%, which ranks 43rd among states.

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau. To determine the locations with the most single-family homes, researchers at Construction Coverage calculated the percentage of existing housing units that are single-family, defined as “single unit, detached” or “single unit, attached.” In the event of a tie, the location with the higher percentage of owner-occupied housing units that are single-family was ranked higher. Researchers also included statistics on renter-occupied housing units as well.

Here are the large cities with the most single-family homes.

15. Kansas City, MO

Kansas City Missouri homes
Sabrina Janelle / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 67.4%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 95.1%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 36.5%
  • Total single-family housing units: 141,476
  • Total housing units: 209,768

14. Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas neighborhood with desert hills beyond.
Christopher Boswell / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 67.6%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 93.0%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 39.6%
  • Total single-family housing units: 159,390
  • Total housing units: 235,628

13. Omaha, NE

Omaha Nebraska Home
Aspects and Angles / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 68.6%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 96.8%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 29.0%
  • Total single-family housing units: 129,534
  • Total housing units: 188,824

12. Memphis, TN

House in Memphis Tennessee
Feng Cheng / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 69.1%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 95.6%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 46.2%
  • Total single-family housing units: 175,931
  • Total housing units: 254,423

11. Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque homes
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  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 69.2%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 93.2%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 33.1%
  • Total single-family housing units: 157,279
  • Total housing units: 227,179

10. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY

Louisville Kentucky homes
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  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 69.7%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 94.3%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 33.3%
  • Total single-family housing units: 176,177
  • Total housing units: 252,784

9. Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs Neighborhood
Nirmal Bhagat / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 70.0%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 94.7%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 33.2%
  • Total single-family housing units: 132,229
  • Total housing units: 188,837

8. Indianapolis, IN

winter scene homes in Indianapolis, Indiana
Ted Alexander Somerville / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 70.2%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 96.0%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 41.2%
  • Total single-family housing units: 239,276
  • Total housing units: 340,639

7. Fort Worth, TX

Fort Wayne Texas Homes
Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 71.6%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 97.1%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 36.2%
  • Total single-family housing units: 221,442
  • Total housing units: 309,097

6. Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach, Virginia
JoMo333 / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 72.7%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 93.2%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 38.7%
  • Total single-family housing units: 127,265
  • Total housing units: 175,029

5. El Paso, TX

El Paso Texas neighborhood
IflyAerialPhotography / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 72.8%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 96.2%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 41.3%
  • Total single-family housing units: 162,508
  • Total housing units: 223,076

4. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City skyline
Natalia Bratslavsky / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 73.6%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 94.6%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 45.1%
  • Total single-family housing units: 183,630
  • Total housing units: 249,615

3. Detroit, MI

Detroit as seen from the air.
Andrey Bayda / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 74.0%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 92.9%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 56.7%
  • Total single-family housing units: 197,656
  • Total housing units: 267,139

2. Wichita, KS

Wichita, Kansas
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 75.7%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 96.1%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 46.1%
  • Total single-family housing units: 116,227
  • Total housing units: 153,454

1. Bakersfield, CA

Bakersfield, California
Richard Thornton / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of housing units that are single-family: 76.2%
  • Percentage of owner housing units that are single-family: 95.2%
  • Percentage of renter housing units that are single-family: 48.4%
  • Total single-family housing units: 88,830
  • Total housing units: 116,558

Detailed Findings & Methodology

Inheriting a house
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The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. To determine the locations with the most single-family homes, researchers calculated the percentage of housing units that are single-family, defined as “single unit, detached” or “single unit, attached”. In the event of a tie, the location with the higher percentage of owner housing units that are single-family was ranked higher. To improve relevance, only cities with at least 100,000 residents were included. Additionally, cities were grouped into cohorts based on population size: small (100,000–149,999), midsize (150,000–349,999), and large (350,000 or more).

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