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Average cost of an American home in the decade you were born, from 1940s to present day

Over the course of 80 years, the housing market has spiked and plummeted, with real estate in the U.S. hitting major milestones and leaving a mark in history.

In this final part of a three-part series, take a look at the average cost of an American home from the 1940s spanning to the present day.

Check out the major ups and downs of the housing market — and how inflation has impacted real estate for over 80 years.

The historical Census and Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) have meticulously documented the ebbs and flows of housing prices.

THIS WAS THE AVERAGE COST OF AN AMERICAN HOME IN THE DECADE YOU WERE BORN

Below, see how much an American home cost in the decade you were born.

In 1940, without adjusting for inflation, the average cost of a home in the United States was $2,938, according to the United States Census Bureau.

The inflation-adjusted price in 2024 dollars would make that $64,372.84.

When compared to 1940, today's prices are 21.91 times as high as the average price 80 years ago.

THIS WAS THE AVERAGE COST OF AN AMERICAN HOME IN THE DECADE YOU WERE BORN: PART II

In the span of 10 years, from 1940 to 1950, the average cost of a home jumped to $7,354, according to Census data.

That equals $93,602.08 today as adjusted for inflation, FRED reports.

Housing prices in 2024 have increased 12.73 times since 1950. 

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The average cost of a home jumped significantly in the early years, with the cost of homes finally surpassing $10,000.

In 1960, homes cost $11,900 or $123,320.18, when adjusted for inflation, the Census documented.

Once 1963 arrived, the average cost of a home hit $19,300, which equates to $193,470.52 in 2024.

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By the end of the decade, houses were costing Americans $27,000, which is $213,457.27 when adjusted for 2024 inflation, according to FRED.

The '70s showed an overall increase of nearly $50,000 from the beginning of the decade to the end, per FRED calculations.

Between 1970 and 1975, the average cost of a home jumped from $27,000 to $40,900 — which would be $213,457.27 and $233,195.38 in 2024, respectively.

The largest jump occurred at the end of the decade as prices reached $74,200 in 1979, or $313,506.24 in today's inflation-adjusted dollars.

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By the end of the decade, the average cost of a home in the U.S. was $72,200 or $305,055.94 with inflation adjustments in 2024.

One of the biggest surges in home prices occurred in the 1980s — in terms of the numbers at the start of the decade compared to the numbers in the transition to the '90s.

Over the course of 10 years, from the start of the decade to the end of it, the average cost of a home jumped from $73,600 to $151,200. 

A house priced at $73,600 would cost $273,986.72 in 2024 — while dwellings listed for $151,200 would be $374,032.22 in 2024 due to inflation, FRED reports.

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The largest hike occurred between 1984 and 1988, with average home prices increasing by more than $40,000.

By the second quarter of 1990, without adjusting for inflation, the average cost of a home reached $151,200, according to FRED.

The inflation-adjusted price in 2024 dollars would be $354,858.

Over the span of five years, the market ebbed and flowed before surpassing the average cost noted above in 1994.

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By 1999, the housing market reached its peak at $204,800, not adjusted for inflation, FRED reported.

The 2024 inflation-adjusted price would be equivalent to about $377,080; that's a price increase of 84.12%.

At the turn of the 21st century, the average cost of an American home had decreased to $202,900, or $361,433 when adjusted for inflation, according to FRED.

The housing market then had a steady increase for nearly six years — apart from a brief drop in 2004.

Once 2007 hit, the market reached its peak, with homes costing an average of $322,100. That equates to $476,521 in 2024 — all leading up to the infamous stock market crash of 2008.

MEDIAN SALE PRICE FOR US HOMES SAW BIGGEST JUMP IN OVER A YEAR

From the beginning of 2008 until the start of 2009, the housing market dropped from $304,200, (which would be equivalent to $433,399 in 2024), to $257,000, or $366,161 when adjusted for inflation, FRED reported from the U.S. Census Bureau.

By the end of the decade, the housing market had not recovered as the average cost of homes remained under $280,000.

At the beginning of 2010, the average cost of homes was $275,300, or $387,277 in 2024 due to inflation.

In the span of four years, the market steadily climbed, reaching the unadjusted inflation cost of $369,400 by the end of 2014, according to FRED.

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By 2018, the average cost of an American home was $399,700, or $488,024 with 2024 inflation adjustments.

Over the next two years, there was a nearly $30,000 drop — a moment of calm before the housing market storm amid COVID-19.

The housing market saw its largest spike starting in 2020 and leading into 2022.

In 2020, the average cost of an American home was $374,500, FRED reported. 

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The adjusted 2024 inflation price equals $443,860.

Over the course of two years, the housing market surged by more than $175,000.

By the end of 2022, the average cost of a home in the U.S. peaked at $552,600, FRED research shows.

The 2024 adjusted inflation cost is equivalent to $579,205.

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