After rising steadily for nearly a decade, home tenure decreased slightly in November 2021 to 13.2 years, from 13.5 years in November 2020.

Homeowner Tenure Flattened in 2021

The typical homeowner lived in their house for 13.2 years in 2021, down slightly from 13.5 years in 2020, according to Redfin.

Why the slight slide In 2021?  The pandemic, remote working and record-low mortgage rates encouraged and enabled people to dive into the housing market.  Redfin indicated that 31.1% of homeowners relocated during 2021 and they mostly relocated to more affordable areas.

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All that being said, homeowners are still living in their homes longer than they were even a decade ago when the median tenure was 10.1 years.  Many of those homeowners who are staying longer in their homes are older homeowners who are aging in place, homeowners who have advantageously refinanced their mortgages and locked in 2021’s historically low interest rates and many are choosing to rent out rather than sell their homes to cash in on rent spiking in this supply strangled, ultra-competitive market.

According to Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather, “Homeowner tenure may have already peaked, or the decline in 2021 could be a blip before it climbs back up.  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.”

Where Homeowners Stay Longest

Market      Median Tenure           12/21 Median Sale Price

Los Angeles         18 years                      $835,000

Urban Honolulu    17 years                      $715,500

Oxnard CA           17 years                      $805,000

Dayton OH           17 years                      $175,000

Anaheim CA          17 years                     $939,000

Cleveland              17 years                     $180,000

San Jose CA           17 years                    $1,365,250

Oakland CA            16 years                    $876,000

Wilmington DL       16 years                    $285,000

Nassau County NY   16 years                   $575,000

Memphis TN             16  years                  $275,050

Detroit                     16 years                   $172,000

Miami                      16 years                   $434,900

Fresno CA                16 years                   $380,000

Philadelphia             16 years                    $255,000

Camden NJ              16 years                    $268,000

Frederick MD           16 years                    $495,000

Akron OH                 16 years                   $179,900

Chicago                    15 years                   $287,000

San Francisco            15 years                  $1,489,500

Greatest Increases & Decreases in Tenure

Redfin’s study indicated that the Midwestern cities of Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit were among the cities where the greatest increases in tenure occurred from 2020 to 2021.

Cities where tenure decreased the most over this same period of time included Las Vegas, Atlanta and Tampa.

Seven California Locales Among Top 20 with Longest Tenure

California’s Proposition 13 essentially froze property taxes at the rate the proposition was passed into law in 1978 for as long as the owners stayed in the home.  Those property taxes would only rise to reflect the home’s higher value when the homeowners sold that home.  The result of Proposition 13?  A growing population of older Californian homeowners chose to stay in their homes and sell it for fear that their next house would come at a much higher price tag due to reflective, commensurate property taxes.

Now, however, changes to Proposition 13 (as the law is still known) allows those senior homeowners to transfer their lower tax rate to a new home when they sell the house they’ve been living in for all these years.  Redfinbelieves that when older homeowners learn about and understand these changes, California homeowner tenure could fall…and potential California homebuyers could cheer for having more supply from which to choose and, perhaps, more relatively affordable home prices.

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Thanks to Redfin.












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