Who are the buyers of America’s homes? With millions of Americans named Smith and Johnson — the most popular last names according to the U.S. Census Bureau– we’d expect to find these traditional English names heading the list of the most common US real estate owner last names as well.
To see if this was true or not, we mined our sister company PropertyShark’s home ownership data and found out that, indeed, the Smiths and the Johnsons are topping the list of the most common names of home owners.
However, when looking at luxury homes*, we found that Asian ethnic names dominate the list of the 50 most common home owner last names. To illustrate, Chen and Wang are the most common names, as you can see in the table below:
* The dollar cutoff sales price used to define a luxury home is $1 million for the entire US, Los Angeles, and Miami and $3 million for NYC.
The majority of last names making up the top 50 list of home owner names have English, Scottish, or Irish origins, as found on Ancestry.com. This is the case of Smith, Johnson, Brown, and Williams. Not surprisingly, the most common Hispanic names such as Garcia, Rodriguez, Martinez, and Gonzales are also part of this list.
What’s notable, though, is that if we look at the column with buyers of luxury property in the last 3 years, we see that 6 out of the top 10 names are of Asian origin.
Can we talk about a shift in the ethnic make up of US home ownership in the recent years, then? The data we collected for the Miami, Los Angeles and New York City real estate markets might be pointing in this direction.
In LA, the most common luxury home buyers have Asian names. What about Hispanic names?
Expect to meet a lot of Asian and Hispanic names among the LA real estate owners! And while this isn’t exactly something new, what might be more interesting is seeing how the ethnic make up in home ownership might have changed over the years.
In the last 3 years, more people with Asian and Hispanic names seemed to have bought homes, shown by the recurrence of names such as Chen, Wang, Garcia, Hernandez, Lopez and Gonzales, which have replaced traditional English names such as Williams, Young, Smith or Johnson.
While Hispanic names are very common among LA home owners when the value of the property is not considered, this is no longer true for the luxury segment (homes over $1 million). In this list, the most common names of owners have Asian roots, while just a few have English names like Lee, Smith and Miller. Cohen, a name of Jewish ethnicity, is also present in the luxury list.
In NYC, the popularity of Asian home owner names has grown significantly in the last 3 years
In the last 3 years, it seems that more home buyers with last names of Asian origin have bought property in NYC. Chen, Lin, Wang and Li have started to become more common than Lee or Cohen (a name with Jewish roots).
Miami’s List of Most Popular Last Names of Home Owners shows Hispanic Predominance
In Miami, the popularity of Hispanic last names among home owners is indisputable. In the last 3 years, they have become so popular that they alone make up the top 20 list of most common names of home owners.
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