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Redfin: Boomers aging in place is 'the driving force' behind median homeowner tenure doubling since 2005

Over the past two decades, the median homeowner tenure has jumped from 6.5 years to 11.9 years.

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In 2005, the median U.S. homeowner tenure was 6.5 years.

In 2023, the median U.S. homeowner tenure was 11.9 years.

That’s according to Redfin’s new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

After climbing every year between 2005 and 2020, U.S. homeowner tenure has come down a bit due to the increase in home sales during the Pandemic Housing Boom. However, given spiked mortgage rates and low existing home sales, tenure rates could start going higher again.

“Moving forward, we expect homeowner tenure to remain flat or increase slightly for the foreseeable future,” wrote Redfin researchers. “Existing-home sales hit a 15-year low last year, with many homeowners locked in by low mortgage rates, and while sales should pick up a bit this year, it’ll be more of a trickle than a flood.”

Why did U.S. homeowner tenure increase so much between 2005 and 2020?

Redfin says it's because so many baby boomers choose to "age in place."

“Older Americans staying in their homes is the driving force behind longer homeowner tenure. Nearly 40% of baby boomers have lived in their home for at least 20 years, and another 16% have lived in their home for 10-19 years. For Gen Xers, more than one-third (35%) have lived in the same home for at least 10 years,” wrote Redfin researchers.

To give an idea of who homeowners are in today’s housing market, about 80% of baby boomers and 72% of Gen Xers are homeowners, while 55% of millennials and 26% of Gen Zers own their homes.

In addition to "aging in place," the Redfin report also cites state-level tax policies that encourage homeowners not to move as part of the reason for increased homeowner tenures. Most notably, Proposition 13 in California limits property tax increases for homeowners, thus encouraging them not to sell.

On Wednesday, new construction data giant Zonda announced that it acquired BDX and listings portal NewHomesSource.com, the largest new construction listings portal in the U.S.

“BDX is owned by a group of 24 leading homebuilders in America—like Lennar, PulteGroup, KB Home and Beazer Homes. So this acquisition will be a game changer for the industry,” wrote Zonda.

Zonda CEO Jeff Meyers added that: “By combining a new home listings portal with Zonda’s deep dataset, we’ll be able to better serve the unique needs of home shoppers, ultimately driving more connections with buyers and awareness for home builders.”

The state of the U.S. housing market, as told by ResiClub

On Thursday, ResiClub is hosting a free webinar to discuss our view on the U.S. housing market.

It’s based on what we’re seeing in the data RIGHT NOW—including regional differences.

Housing market tailwinds. Housing market headwinds.

The webinar will be at 1 pm ET on Thursday.