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Owners Aren’t Staying in Homes Quite as Long

Study: The typical U.S. homeowner moved after 12.3 years in 2022, down from 13.4 in 2020 and 12.9 in 2021. But in Fla., only a Miami homeowner stays that long.

SEATTLE – The typical U.S. homeowner has spent 12.3 years in their home, according to a report from Redfin – down from a peak of 13.4 years hit in 2020 and 12.9 years in 2021.

While Americans are starting to spend less time in a single location, however, homeowner tenure is still much longer than it was before. In 2012, it was about 10 years; in 2005, it was about 6.5 years.

In Florida, only Miami comes close to typical U.S. average at 10.3 years in 2022, based on Redfin’s homeowner tenure list of the top U.S. 100 markets.

Homeowner tenure in Florida metro areas

  1. Miami: 12.5 years in 2022 – 14.3 in 2021 – 10.9 in 2012
  2. Jacksonville: 10.3 years in 2022 – 12.6 in 2021 – 10.9 in 2012
  3. Tampa: 9.0 years in 2022, – 9.5 in 2021 – 10.2 in 2012
  4. Orlando: 8.6 years in 2022 – 9.2 in 2021 – 9.6 in 2012

Why do homeowners stay longer?

The general trend toward longer homeowner tenure stems from older adults choosing to age in place. Most Americans 65 and older have owned their home for at least 23 years, and most Americans aged 35 to 64 have owned theirs for at least eight years.

Compare that with homeowners under 35: Nearly half (49%) have owned their home for three years or less, and another 37% have owned theirs for four to seven years.

The recent decline in homeowner tenure is tied to the pandemic – as many people moved from one home to another in 2021 and the first half of 2022, in part due to low mortgage rates intended to spark the economy, and in part because many people suddenly working remotely decided to do so in more favorable locales.

Homeowner tenure isn’t expected to drop much more

There are several reasons why:

  • Older Americans aging in place. Long homeowner tenure is driven by older generations and the population is aging. Roughly 17% of people in the U.S. are 65 or older, up from about 13% in 2010, and the share is expected to continue increasing.
  • Affordability. Typical monthly mortgage payments are near a record high, discouraging many people from moving.
  • Lack of move-up buyers. Roughly 85% of mortgage holders have an interest rate far below 6%, disincentivizing them from giving up their comparatively low rate and moving.
  • High rental prices. Asking rents are still higher than they were before the pandemic. That’s motivating some homeowners to become landlords rather than sell.
  • Shortage of homes for sale. The inventory of for-sale homes is near historic lows with few new listings coming on the market. Even if a homeowner was considering a move, there’s not much to choose from.

Homeowner tenure is “likely to head back up again in the next few years,” says Redfin Senior Economist Sheharyar Bokhari. “Even if (mortgage) rates dip down to 4% or 5%, that’s still significantly higher than the sub-3% rates many homeowners have now. That lock-in effect combined with older Americans’ desire to stay put in their homes points to lengthening tenure in the future.”

Overall, the typical length of time renters stay in any one rental home hasn’t fluctuated much over the last decade. The median has bounced between one, two and three years for the last decade. Californians keep their homes longest; homeowners in Louisville and Las Vegas hold on less than half as long before moving

Homeowners stay put longest in expensive parts of California. The typical Los Angeles homeowner has owned their home for 18.2 years, followed by 17.3 years in San Jose. Cleveland (17.1 years), San Francisco (16.3 years) and Memphis (16.2 years) round out the top five.

Tenure is shortest in relatively affordable migration destinations in the southern half of the country. It’s shortest in Louisville, KY (6.9 years), followed by Las Vegas (7.6 years), Nashville (8.2 years), Raleigh (8.3 years) and Charlotte (8.3 years).

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