Counties with the oldest homes in New Jersey

Written by:
August 27, 2022
Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

Counties with the oldest homes in New Jersey

There's an undeniable charm that comes with pre-World War II American architecture, characterized by high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, and ornate details. In fact, 12.8% of all housing units in America were built in 1939 or before, showing the popularity of the preservation of these units. Owning a piece of history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize. However, with more and more modernized pre-war homes on the market, generally located just outside bustling downtown metros, investing in property that has withstood the test of time is an attractive prospect.

Stacker compiled a list of the counties in New Jersey with the oldest homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built according to 2020 5-year estimates. Ties broken by the highest percentage of homes built before 1939.

The country's domestic architecture is perhaps best characterized by a rugged individualism as opposed to the hybridization of disparate architectural elements. As Maya Angelou once perceptively observed, "the ache for home lives in all of us," a phrase that has meant very different things to different people.

Modest or palatial, there is no shortage of noteworthy homes in the U.S. Log cabins constructed by industrious pioneers have dotted the landscape alongside traditional Native American dwellings ever since immigrant Swedes introduced them to the New World in 1638. The unprecedented personal fortunes amassed by the so-called "Robber Barons" at the close of the 19th century gave way to the construction of a staggering number of Gilded Age estates.

The ravages of time spared neither the sumptuous nor the humble. Stately mansions, often prohibitively costly to maintain in the modern era, were frequently neglected; simple structures were forgotten, discarded by their owners, and damaged by natural elements. However, the tireless efforts of architectural preservationists and local historical societies have saved many of these homes from demolition, leading to their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and thereby safeguarding them for future generations.

Keep reading to learn more about which counties in New Jersey have the oldest homes.

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#21. Ocean County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 4.3% (12,137 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.8% (56,382 homes)
- Total homes built: 284,773
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Zeete // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Somerset County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.9% (12,583 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.7% (17,474 homes)
- Total homes built: 127,090
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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Gloucester County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.1% (12,595 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.6% (22,324 homes)
- Total homes built: 113,945
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Jorge Moro // Shutterstock

#18. Cape May County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 14.5% (14,403 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 20.6% (20,515 homes)
- Total homes built: 99,394
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Jared Kofsky/PlaceNJ.com // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Hunterdon County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.5% (8,833 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.0% (6,057 homes)
- Total homes built: 50,437

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Apc106 // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Burlington County

- Median year homes built: 1976
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.1% (20,057 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.3% (25,777 homes)
- Total homes built: 179,955
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Bob Jagendorf // Wikicommons

#15. Atlantic County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.0% (20,508 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.1% (21,961 homes)
- Total homes built: 128,472
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LittleGun // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Monmouth County

- Median year homes built: 1973
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.7% (35,830 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.5% (35,500 homes)
- Total homes built: 262,088
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Zeete // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Middlesex County

- Median year homes built: 1972
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 10.5% (31,719 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.7% (38,519 homes)
- Total homes built: 302,650
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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Sussex County

- Median year homes built: 1972
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 14.4% (8,998 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.8% (6,740 homes)
- Total homes built: 62,492

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Warren County

- Median year homes built: 1971
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.7% (10,328 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.8% (5,831 homes)
- Total homes built: 45,548
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Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

#10. Morris County

- Median year homes built: 1970
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 12.9% (25,086 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.9% (21,253 homes)
- Total homes built: 194,426
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Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Cumberland County

- Median year homes built: 1968
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.7% (9,436 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.9% (7,301 homes)
- Total homes built: 56,411
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#8. Camden County

- Median year homes built: 1966
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.0% (37,059 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.1% (16,756 homes)
- Total homes built: 206,247
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Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Salem County

- Median year homes built: 1964
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.1% (5,832 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.2% (2,533 homes)
- Total homes built: 27,607

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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#6. Mercer County

- Median year homes built: 1964
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.0% (31,923 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.3% (16,424 homes)
- Total homes built: 145,115
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f11 photo // Shutterstock

#5. Hudson County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 33.0% (93,901 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.9% (50,897 homes)
- Total homes built: 284,561
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#4. Bergen County

- Median year homes built: 1959
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.1% (72,178 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.3% (33,444 homes)
- Total homes built: 359,097
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Sridhar // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Passaic County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.9% (45,832 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.1% (12,546 homes)
- Total homes built: 177,216
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Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

#2. Essex County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.7% (97,702 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.7% (30,813 homes)
- Total homes built: 318,385

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#1. Union County

- Median year homes built: 1955
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.4% (49,439 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.9% (15,963 homes)
- Total homes built: 202,823

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