Average Owner Stays Put for 10 Years

Homeowners continue to delay moving, as the typical seller in 2017 had stayed in his or her home for 10 years before selling—a tie for the record tenure set in 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Homeowner tenure has steadily increased since 2009, when sellers typically lived in their home for a median of six years before selling.

Economists speculate that low inventory and soaring home prices are forcing homeowners to stay put longer. Instead, they are choosing to renovate their current homes rather than trade up. But the good news is that homeowners are accruing more equity: The typical seller saw a gain of $47,500 this year, according to NAR’s report.

Not surprisingly, the longer the homeowner was in the home, the more equity they tended to have. Homes sold after 21 years of ownership saw the largest equity gain, at 104 percent, while homes sold after six or seven years of ownership saw a 27 percent return, according to the report.

When buyers do move, they tend to trade up to something bigger. Fifty-two percent of sellers say they planned on purchasing a bigger home, an increase from 46 percent in 2016, according to NAR’s report. “The uptick in repeat buyers trading up to a larger home reflects the more favorable conditions for home shoppers at the upper end of the market, where listings are more plentiful and sales have been consistently higher over the past year,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

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