Median home values adjusted for inflation nearly quadrupled over the 60-year period since the first housing census in 1940. The median value of single-family homes in the United States rose from $30,600 in 1940 to $119,600 in 2000, after adjusting for inflation (see graph). Median home value increased in each decade of this 60-year period, rising fastest (43 percent) in the 1970s and slowest (8.2 percent) in the 1980s. Both home values adjusted and unadjusted for inflation are presented. These values refer to owner-occupied single-family housing units on less than 10 acres without a business or medical office on the property.
Among states, the District of Columbia (treated as a state in these tabulations) had the highest median home value from 1940 to 1950. In 1960, Hawaii became the leader and has remained there through 2000 (Hawaii became a state in 1959). Over this 60-year period, the lowest median home values were generally found in southern states, such as Arkansas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. However, these states were joined by a couple of western states in earlier decades and Midwestern states in later decades. For example: New Mexico, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Arizona had the lowest median home values in 1940. In 2000, the southern states remained at the bottom, but were joined by North Dakota and South Dakota, in the Midwest. Home values for those western states had increased considerably. For example, Arizona’s median home value increased from well below the national median in 1940 to above it by 1980 and remained above the national level in 2000.