Counties with the oldest homes in North Carolina

Written by:
August 27, 2022
Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the oldest homes in North Carolina

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history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize.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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina have the oldest homes.

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#50. Avery County

- Median year homes built: 1984
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.1% (875 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.0% (2,711 homes)
- Total homes built: 14,289
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Warren LeMay // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Alamance County

- Median year homes built: 1984
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.2% (4,437 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 26.2% (18,768 homes)
- Total homes built: 71,718
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#48. Hyde County

- Median year homes built: 1984
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.0% (228 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.8% (611 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,257
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Shapard Wolf // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Yancey County

- Median year homes built: 1984
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.8% (1,101 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.3% (1,949 homes)
- Total homes built: 11,270
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Toribio93 // Shutterstock

#46. Madison County

- Median year homes built: 1984
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.8% (1,308 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 21.4% (2,373 homes)
- Total homes built: 11,067

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ncwetlands.org// Wikimedia Commons

#45. Bladen County

- Median year homes built: 1983
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 3.8% (678 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.6% (3,162 homes)
- Total homes built: 18,008
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Warren LeMay from Cincinnati, OH, United States // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Transylvania County

- Median year homes built: 1983
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 4.3% (853 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 22.2% (4,381 homes)
- Total homes built: 19,752
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#43. Alleghany County

- Median year homes built: 1983
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 4.8% (396 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.6% (1,193 homes)
- Total homes built: 8,199
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Katangais // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Robeson County

- Median year homes built: 1983
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 5.1% (2,701 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.1% (8,053 homes)
- Total homes built: 53,384
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Wayne County

- Median year homes built: 1983
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.1% (3,336 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 20.3% (11,042 homes)
- Total homes built: 54,507

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Dennis Brown // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Davidson County

- Median year homes built: 1983
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.4% (4,808 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 20.4% (15,385 homes)
- Total homes built: 75,465
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Jacalyn Engler // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Stokes County

- Median year homes built: 1983
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.4% (1,431 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.1% (3,820 homes)
- Total homes built: 22,296
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Duplin County

- Median year homes built: 1983
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.6% (1,986 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.7% (4,609 homes)
- Total homes built: 26,014
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Limozine // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Polk County

- Median year homes built: 1983
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 10.4% (1,227 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 20.2% (2,385 homes)
- Total homes built: 11,783
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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Wilson County

- Median year homes built: 1982
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.1% (2,231 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.3% (7,029 homes)
- Total homes built: 36,332

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Gary Rolband // Shutterstock

#35. Ashe County

- Median year homes built: 1982
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.5% (1,166 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 20.2% (3,600 homes)
- Total homes built: 17,835
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#34. Haywood County

- Median year homes built: 1982
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.8% (2,766 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.1% (6,808 homes)
- Total homes built: 35,659
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Greene County

- Median year homes built: 1982
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.2% (688 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.7% (1,312 homes)
- Total homes built: 8,352
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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#32. Forsyth County

- Median year homes built: 1981
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.1% (10,192 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 21.6% (35,959 homes)
- Total homes built: 166,765
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Tradewinds // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Jones County

- Median year homes built: 1981
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.3% (417 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 20.8% (1,042 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,009

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Bethbrownebooks // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Chowan County

- Median year homes built: 1981
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.5% (696 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.5% (1,283 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,322
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AlexiusHoratius // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Rowan County

- Median year homes built: 1981
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 10.0% (6,219 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.7% (11,629 homes)
- Total homes built: 62,052
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NatalieMaynor from Jackson, Mississippi, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Caswell County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 5.5% (598 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.5% (1,896 homes)
- Total homes built: 10,833
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Nolichuckyjake // Shutterstock

#27. Caldwell County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.5% (2,493 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.5% (5,152 homes)
- Total homes built: 38,158
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Wasrts // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Yadkin County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.7% (1,162 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.1% (2,461 homes)
- Total homes built: 17,444

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David Byron Keener // Shutterstock

#25. Beaufort County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.7% (1,770 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.5% (5,112 homes)
- Total homes built: 26,249
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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Gaston County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.9% (6,434 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 21.4% (20,114 homes)
- Total homes built: 93,897
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Theresaperry44 // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Bertie County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.3% (719 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.9% (1,467 homes)
- Total homes built: 9,835
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KimWrenn // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Vance County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.4% (1,483 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.6% (2,949 homes)
- Total homes built: 20,152
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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Montgomery County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.8% (1,277 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.8% (2,893 homes)
- Total homes built: 16,297

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G Keith Hall // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Surry County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.3% (2,833 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.8% (5,081 homes)
- Total homes built: 34,279
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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Wilkes County

- Median year homes built: 1979
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 5.4% (1,810 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.7% (4,617 homes)
- Total homes built: 33,664
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gerrydincher // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Columbus County

- Median year homes built: 1979
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.3% (1,666 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.7% (4,400 homes)
- Total homes built: 26,381
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OptimumPx // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Cleveland County

- Median year homes built: 1979
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.3% (2,762 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.4% (6,732 homes)
- Total homes built: 43,714
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Scotland County

- Median year homes built: 1979
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.8% (1,036 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.9% (1,824 homes)
- Total homes built: 15,343

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Nolichuckyjake // Shutterstock

#15. Rutherford County

- Median year homes built: 1979
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.3% (2,519 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.6% (5,720 homes)
- Total homes built: 34,482
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HarmonyReignPope // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Tyrrell County

- Median year homes built: 1979
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.9% (309 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.4% (411 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,230
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Ron Reiring // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Burke County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.7% (2,757 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.1% (6,257 homes)
- Total homes built: 41,393
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Northampton County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.9% (920 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.7% (1,599 homes)
- Total homes built: 11,663
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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Richmond County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.9% (1,724 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.3% (3,112 homes)
- Total homes built: 21,775

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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Rockingham County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.6% (4,264 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.7% (6,512 homes)
- Total homes built: 44,245
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Cecouchman // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Halifax County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.9% (2,562 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.8% (2,797 homes)
- Total homes built: 25,953
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State Archives of North Carolina // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Edgecombe County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 10.0% (2,505 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.3% (4,073 homes)
- Total homes built: 25,013
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Lenoir County

- Median year homes built: 1977
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.6% (1,841 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.4% (3,426 homes)
- Total homes built: 27,693
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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Anson County

- Median year homes built: 1976
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 10.8% (1,258 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.2% (1,651 homes)
- Total homes built: 11,656

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Mitchell County

- Median year homes built: 1976
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.0% (1,152 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.9% (1,406 homes)
- Total homes built: 8,844
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Boston Public Library // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Hertford County

- Median year homes built: 1975
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.3% (881 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.9% (1,162 homes)
- Total homes built: 10,648
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Alanteitleman // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Martin County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.2% (1,068 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.8% (1,828 homes)
- Total homes built: 11,592
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Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Stanly County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.6% (3,237 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.0% (4,197 homes)
- Total homes built: 28,007
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Ymblanter // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Washington County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 12.0% (776 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.3% (538 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,450

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