Homeowners Are Staying Put Twice As Long As They Did Two Decades Ago

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The typical homeowner in 2024 has spent 11.9 years in their home, up from 6.5 years in 2005, according to Redfin data.

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Homeowners are staying in their homes for twice as long as they did approximately two decades ago, with older Americans in particular choosing to age in place, according to a new report from Redfin.

The typical homeowner in 2024 has spent 11.9 years in their home, up from 6.5 years in 2005, according to the report released Thursday. Homeowner tenure peaked in 2020 at 13.4 years, right when the pandemic inspired a moving frenzy. That has subsided in the ensuing years, though homeowner tenure has declined slightly every year since 2020.

Baby boomers are leading the pack for homeowners choosing to stay put, with nearly 40 percent choosing to live in the home they currently own for at least 20 years, and with 16 percent of boomers having lived in their current home for at least 10-19 years, according to Redfin. Boomers are followed by Gen Xers, 35 percent of whom have been living in the same home for at least 10 years.

Millennials tend to have shorter tenures, largely due to their age and their tendency to switch jobs more than their forbears. Fewer than 7 percent of millennials have lived in the home they currently own for 10 years or longer, 13 percent have lived there for between 5 and 9 years, while 30 percent have lived there for less than five years.

Nearly all members of Generation Z have lived in the home they own for less than five years, which stands to reason because the oldest Gen Z member was 26 in 2023, the report points out.

The outsized influence of baby boomers and Gen Xers on housing market trends is due in part to the American population’s advanced age. Roughly 17 percent of people in the United States were 65 or older as of 2020 — up from 13 percent in 2010. Additionally, they are more likely to own homes than any other generation, with 80 percent of baby boomers and 72 percent of Gen Xers owning their homes.

Baby boomers and Gen Xers are holding onto their homes at a higher rate, perhaps in large part, because they are financially incentivized to do so, with 54 percent of baby boomers owning their home outright with no mortgage payments to make. For boomers, the median monthly cost of owning a home, including regular maintenance and property taxes, is just $600, according to Redfin.

Those who do have mortgages, meanwhile, have much lower rates than those offered today which are in the 6 percent to 7 percent range.

The report points out some states have provided further incentives for older homeowners to age in place, such as a program in Texas that allows homeowners over 65 to defer their property taxes until their home is sold or California’s Proposition 13 which limits property tax increases.

Redfin points out that most older Americans simply prefer to age in place rather than in a retirement home or smaller house. The report cites a recent survey that found 9 in 10 Americans between the ages of 50 and 80 believe it’s important to stay in their homes as they get older. Advances in medical technology have made that increasingly easy to do.

In the coming years, Redfin predicted homeowner tenure would stay flat or increase slightly, as homeowners remain locked in by low mortgage rates.

Email Ben Verde

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