Massachusetts's housing stock, much older than the US average, reflects the state's colonial heritage and its ties to English architectural traditions. Two major styles are common: colonial, typified by a wood frame, two stories, center hall entry, and center chimney; and Cape Cod, one-story houses built by fishermen, typified by shallow basements, shingled roofs, clapboard fronts, and unpainted shingled sides weathered gray by the salt air. Many new houses are also built in these styles.
As of 2002, there were an estimated 2,649,029 housing units in the state, of which 2,432,176 were occupied; 64% were owner-occupied. About 52.8% of all housing units were single-family, detached homes. About 35.6% of all units were built before or during 1939. Nearly 41% of all units rely on utility gas for heating and 35.8% use fuel oil or kerosene. It was estimated that 33,515 units lacked telephone service, 9,197 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 11,111 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household size was 2.55 people.
In 2002, 17,465 new housing units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $249,161, the 3rd highest in the United States. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,486. Renters paid a median of $799 per month. During 2002, Massachusetts received over $175.9 million in community planning and development aid from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Executive Office of Communities and Development administers federal housing programs for the state. The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency finances the construction and rehabilitation of housing by private and community groups.