The typical U.S. homeowner is staying put in the same place five years longer than at the start of the decade. But metro Denver residents aren’t typical.
Back in 2010, U.S. homeowners had spent a median of eight years in their homes, according to a study from Redfin, a national real estate brokerage firm based in Seattle. But this year, the median tenure is now at 13 years.
In Salt Lake City and Houston, the median tenure exceeds 23 years, and it is above 20 years in Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Dallas, according to Redfin.
By contrast, metro Denver residents are tumbleweeds. The median tenure went from 8.7 years to 9.3 years. The increase was only 6.9%, the smallest of the 55 metro areas Redfin examined.
In Indianapolis, the median tenure is up 92.2%, while in Austin, Texas, it is up 89.7%.
“When homeowners stay put, that can reduce the number of homes for sale, making a market more competitive for buyers,” said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist with Redfin, in the study.
That raises the question of how much tighter metro Denver’s housing market might have been if so many owners here hadn’t put up a for-sale sign.
Even with tenure barely budging, there are only half as many homes available for sale in metro Denver this year compared to 2010. And the median price of a home sold has doubled this decade.
Metro Denver homes prices didn’t fall to the degree they did in places like Miami, Phoenix and Las Vegas during the housing downturn. And they rebounded faster, meaning owners weren’t trapped as long owing more on the mortgage than they could get in a sale.
Prices rose so much that it gave long-time owners, it appears, an incentive to cash in and sell.
The National Association of Realtors provided some other statistics on how the housing market is changing, which may explain why people are staying put longer.
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The average age of first-time homebuyers in the U.S. is now 33 years old. What hasn’t gotten as much attention is the average age of move-up buyers has now reached 55 years. Contrast that with the low of 36 years in 1981.
“People are taking on a mortgage later in life,” said Jessica Lautz, vice president of research at NAR, on a conference call.
Those move-up buyers take on a mortgage for 86% of the purchase price, meaning they will carry a mortgage well into retirement. That is one thing that could keep them locked in.
More young adults are also staying with parents, delaying when that empty nest can be offloaded.
The NAR statistics suggest many millennials are making good use of their time at home. About a quarter of first-time homebuyers went directly from living with relatives to buying a home. Historically, they have represented only 12% of first-time buyers.
Young adults are having children at a later age and are having fewer of them. That also reduces what often is a major motivator to purchase a home or to purchase a larger one.