Average Homeowners Spend 13 Years In Their Home

The average American has now lived 13.2 years in their home, up from 2012’s 10.1 years but down from 2020’s 13.5-year record, Redfin reported.

The report notes that last year’s high migration rates contributed to the downturn from 2020’s peak, though Americans continue aging in place, keeping the average inflated.  One-third of U.S. household heads were at least 65 years old in 2019. Housing analysts are already thinking about the changing face of the market as that number grows.

Rising rents, stock shortages, and the number of homeowners who refinanced are also likely keeping people in their homes longer.

“Homeowner tenure may have already peaked, or the decline in 2021 could be a blip before it climbs back up,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. 

“There are competing forces at work. Remote work is encouraging homeowners to sell their homes in expensive cities and move to more affordable areas, which could pull tenure down. But on the flip side, rising mortgage rates may discourage people from selling and older Americans are staying put longer, which could push it back up.” 

Mortgage rates reached 4.15% last week, their highest since 2019.

The typical amount of time people own a home rose over the last decade in 59 of the 74 metros Redfin analyzed. California residents have the longest tenures in their homes, with the typical Los Angeles homeowner spending 18 years there. Honolulu and Oxnard, CA, tie for second with median tenures of 17 years.

Midwestern metros saw the largest increases, with tenure rising by 5 years in St. Louis, Detroit, and Chicago.

Long tenures coincide with particularly tough stock shortages. The number of homes for sale in both Los Angeles and Oxnard fell by about 30% YOY in December, compared to 19% nationally.

Fairweather says the migration trend could help shake up inventory problems.

“[It] is encouraging for supply because more people moving typically means more people selling their homes,” she said. 

“Adding supply will help the housing market keep up with demand and start relieving buyers from heated competition and rapidly rising prices.”