Mortgage

Listed here are the U.S. cities with the largest share of mortgage-free houses

More than 30 million homes in the U.S. are mortgage-free, with Florida — which has the highest proportion of retirees — the state with the biggest percentage of free and clear residences, suggesting it’s better shielded from a decline in real estate prices.

Of the 15 U.S. counties with more than 500,000 homes, Palm Beach in Florida had the greatest concentration of residences that were paid up, at 41.5% of 567,283 homes, data compiled by real estate analytics firm Attom showed. Neighboring Broward County — which includes Fort Lauderdale and parts of Miami — is the next highest at 36% of its 624,886 homes.

While 746,957 homes are paid up in the five California counties with more than 500,000 residences — the most for any state — the proportion of free and clear units is 17% of the 4.5 million total, Attom found. The counties are Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. 

Throughout the U.S., more than 30 million homeowners are sitting on 100% equity positions, equating to 34% of all single-family homes and condominiums.

The pandemic-era housing boom has delivered windfall wealth gains for millions of Americans over the past two years. And the explosive growth in U.S. home prices — which have surged about 40% since 2019 — has an even deeper significance for the millions of homeowners who are mortgage-free.   

In New York City, the concentration of wealth and its attractiveness for international buyers boosts the share of mortgage-free homes in Manhattan to almost 60%. By comparison, the share in Los Angeles is just 16%. 

The share of free and clear homes in the areas surrounding Washington, D.C., is among the lowest of large counties in the US. The proportion is below 15% in Prince George’s, Maryland, as well as in Prince William and Loudoun, Virginia. 

In September, 23% of home purchases in the U.S. were all-cash sales, up from 22% a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors.

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