We all know moving can be a real pain, but how often are Americans willing to pack it all up for the sake of a new property? According to Redfin, the typical U.S. homeowner has spent 12.3 years in their home—down from the peak of 13.4 years hit in 2020 and 12.9 years in 2021.
But the typical American is still living in their home much longer than before, with median homeowner tenure sitting at about 10 years in 2012 and 6.5 years in 2005.
No surprise that older people aging in place are driving the general trend toward longer homeowner tenure. Most Americans 65 and older have owned their home for at least 23 years, while most Americans aged 35-64 have owned theirs for at least eight years.
Compare that with homeowners under 35: some 49 percent have owned their home for three years or less, and another 37 percent have owned theirs for four to seven years.
“Even though the length of time Americans are staying in their homes has ticked down from the peak it reached in 2020, it’s likely to head back up again in the next few years,” said Redfin Senior Economist Sheharyar Bokhari. “Today’s mortgage rates are more than double the lows reached during the pandemic homebuying frenzy, which means people have extra incentive to hang onto their homes. Even if rates dip down to 4 percent or 5 percent, that’s still significantly higher than the sub-3 percent 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.”
“But although that limits the number of homes hitting the market, competing forces could help the supply shortage,” Bokhari continued. “Remote work is still much more popular than before the pandemic, so more people have the freedom to relocate or move further away from city centers. Plus, millennials–the largest generation in the U.S.–are in prime moving years, pushed to sell their homes by things like growing families and new jobs.”
Redfin also found that Californians stay put longest. The typical Los Angeles homeowner has owned their home for 18.2 years, followed by 17.3 years in San Jose. San Francisco followed closely behind with 16.3 years. The median tenure in San Diego and Riverside is also longer than the national average–largely because the state’s tax laws incentivize homeowners to stay put.
Tenure is shortest in relatively affordable migration destinations in the southern half of the country. It’s shortest in Louisville (6.9 years), followed by Las Vegas (7.6 years), Nashville (8.2 years), Raleigh (8.3 years) and Charlotte (8.3 years).