Counties with the oldest homes in New York

Written by:
September 12, 2021
Jwilson855 // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the oldest homes in New York

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history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize.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 York with the oldest homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built, with ties broken by the most homes 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 York have the oldest homes.

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Marduk // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Steuben County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #409 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.6%
--- #219 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 49,585
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UpstateNYer // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Washington County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #408 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 36.5%
--- #169 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 29,487
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littlenySTOCK // Shutterstock

#28. Onondaga County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #390 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.4%
--- #730 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 208,376
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P199 // Wikimedia Commons

#27. St. Lawrence County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #367 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.6%
--- #331 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 53,194
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Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Cattaraugus County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #355 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.4%
--- #225 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 41,596
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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#25. Albany County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #330 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.5%
--- #377 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 141,553
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Matt H. Wade // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Rensselaer County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #319 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.1%
--- #210 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 73,011
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Canva

#23. Broome County

- Median year homes built: 1957
--- #230 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.6%
--- #415 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 90,946
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marjobani // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Seneca County

- Median year homes built: 1957
--- #215 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.6%
--- #220 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 16,361
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#21. Westchester County

- Median year homes built: 1956
--- #197 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.8%
--- #364 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 374,923
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Canva

#20. Erie County

- Median year homes built: 1956
--- #195 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.1%
--- #348 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 428,362
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PQK // Shuterstock

#19. Cayuga County

- Median year homes built: 1956
--- #174 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.5%
--- #124 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 37,077
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Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Genesee County

- Median year homes built: 1956
--- #173 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 39.0%
--- #111 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 25,797
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littlenySTOCK // Shutterstock

#17. Nassau County

- Median year homes built: 1955
--- #167 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 19.9%
--- #934 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 472,572
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Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

#16. Niagara County

- Median year homes built: 1955
--- #160 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.3%
--- #297 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 100,373
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Nina Alizada // Shutterstock

#15. Oneida County

- Median year homes built: 1955
--- #155 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.1%
--- #209 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 105,267
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Beyond My Ken // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Fulton County

- Median year homes built: 1955
--- #149 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 36.3%
--- #173 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 29,112
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Kenneth Sponsler // Shutterstock

#13. Otsego County

- Median year homes built: 1955
--- #138 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 42.6%
--- #47 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 31,232
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Lvklock // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Chemung County

- Median year homes built: 1954
--- #131 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.8%
--- #192 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 38,870
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UpstateNYer // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Schenectady County

- Median year homes built: 1953
--- #110 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.8%
--- #193 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 69,615
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Doug Kerr from Upstate New York // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Herkimer County

- Median year homes built: 1953
--- #94 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 41.6%
--- #65 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 33,831
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Stef Ko // Shutterstock

#9. Cortland County

- Median year homes built: 1953
--- #90 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 43.0%
--- #39 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 20,737
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Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Wyoming County

- Median year homes built: 1953
--- #88 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 43.5%
--- #34 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 18,208
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Bjoertvedt // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Queens County

- Median year homes built: 1952
--- #87 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.7%
--- #323 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 859,529
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Andre Carrotflower // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Chautauqua County

- Median year homes built: 1952
--- #84 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.5%
--- #122 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 67,645
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Jimmy Emerson // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Orleans County

- Median year homes built: 1952
--- #71 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 44.0%
--- #31 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 18,584
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Gryffindor // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Bronx County

- Median year homes built: 1951
--- #67 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.5%
--- #123 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 529,796
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pisaphotography // Shutterstock

#3. New York County

- Median year homes built: 1950
--- #44 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 42.7%
--- #46 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 880,085
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Jwilson855 // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Montgomery County

- Median year homes built: 1945
--- #19 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 45.7%
--- #20 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 23,496
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Victor Moussa // Shutterstock

#1. Kings County

- Median year homes built: before 1939
--- #4 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 51.0%
--- #4 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 1.0 million

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