Curve

Homeowners are staying put longer — especially in Texas

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Hello, long-term homeowners

There’s a reason why housing inventory is so low: Homeowners are staying in their homes longer than ever. In fact, according to a new analysis, homeowners in some cities are staying put for over two decades.

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Long-term living in the Lone Star State

According to a new analysis from Redfin, the average homeowner is staying in their home for 13 years — up from just eight years in 2010.

In some cities, the tenures go even higher. In Salt Lake City, for example, the average homeowner stays put for 23.4 years. Houston homeowners stay nearly as long (23.2 years). In 2010, both cities had average homeownership tenures of just 14 years.

Four other Texas cities round out the top six in terms of tenure. In Fort Worth, homeowners stay 22.6 years, while in San Antonio, they stay 22. Dallas homeowners stay slightly less at 21.9 years, while those in Austin stay for 18.4.

According to Redfin’s chief economist Daryl Fairweather, state property tax laws may have something to do with Texas’ rankings.

“Many local governments have put policies in place that reduce property tax burdens for senior citizens, which have made it more affordable for older people to stay in their homes longer,” she said. “For example, in Texas, where homeowners tend to stay put the longest, homeowners over the age of 65 have the option to defer property taxes until the home is sold.”

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Light on listings

These ever-growing homeownership tenures are causing a shortage of available properties — particularly on the low end of the price spectrum.

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According to the analysis, homeowners who live in affordable areas, as well as in walkable communities close to schools and parks, are more likely to stay put longer. In fact, in areas with above-average “Walk Score” ratings (Redfin’s rating for how walkable a community is), homeowners stay 11 months longer than in less-walkable neighborhoods. Properties also sell eight days faster.

“That means first-time homebuyers who are still looking to own a home and start a family are relegated to neighborhoods in less walkable exurbs on the outskirts of town,” Fairweather said.

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