Longtime Owners Keep Real Estate Prices High

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Just like Leo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street, more and more American homeowners are saying “I’m Not Leavin!”

According to an analysis by Redfin, homeowners are remaining in their homes for longer and longer, carrying weighty implications for the housing market.


Putting aside the cohort who decamped for Miami and Austin once temperatures dipped in September, many homeowners were reluctant to relocate in 2020. Whether it was the fear of stranger-danger involved with showing a home, or the general inconvenience of coordinating a move mid-pandemic, staying put was a popular strategy last year.

But the trend of remaining stationary has been going on for some time:

  • In 2010 the average homeowner had lived in their home for 8.7 years. Fast forward to 2020, that number ballooned to 13 years.
  • Over 25% of current homeowners have lived in their home for over 20 years. A decade ago, just 8% could say the same.

Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather told the WSJ, “It becomes a cycle where people don’t want to move because it’s so difficult to buy a home, and then that in turn makes it even more difficult to buy a home because people aren’t moving and freeing up inventory.”

The Implications

With the supply of available homes so low, and willing buyers able to tap historically low interest rates, home prices had a banner 2020:

  • In November the media price for an existing home sale was $310,800 in November, up 15% from last year.
The Takeaway:

As of the end of November there were just 1.28 million homes for sale, down 22% from November 2019.