NAHB Study: Average Homeowner to Stay in Home For 13 Years

by Peter Thomas Ricci


The NAHB has found in its latest study of mobility tendencies in homeowners that the move-out rate in the U.S. is gradually falling.

A new study from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has found that the typical buyer of a single-family home will stay in the property for 13 years before moving out.

That’s down from 16 years in 2011 and 20 years in 2009, and suggests that more and more homeowners are embracing the homebuying process and trading up to new properties.

NAHB Studies Mobility Tendencies of Buyers

Utilizing data from the American Housing Survey, which is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and conducted in odd-numbered years by the Census Bureau, the NAHB found some interesting details regarding how long homebuyers stay in their homes:

  • As previously stated, the 13-year figure was down from 16 years in 2011 and 20 years in 2009, though the NAHB stated that the earlier estimates were a distortion of the post-bubble housing market, which saw more and more homeowners putting off their moves for various reasons; thus, as this graph demonstrates, the average time before homeowners moved was disproportionately high post-2006.
  • Of course, that period of longer averages was preceded by a period of short averages, with homeowners moving more than usual during the housing boom years; in 2005, for instance, move-out rates were only 10 years for homebuyers.
  • The NAHB also found interesting information regarding first-time homebuyers and move-out rates. Trade-up homebuyers, it found, stay in their home longer than first-time homebuyers, with an expected stay of 15 years compared to first-time homebuyers’ 11.5 years.

A Gradually Healing Housing Market

The NAHB’s data is encouraging for two reasons. One, it shows that more and more homeowners are stepping in to the homebuying field, and two, it shows that homebuyers are settling back into their historic patterns when it comes to buying residences and moving to new ones; after moving more than usual during the housing boom and less than usual during the economic downturn, moving patterns, much like the other arenas of the housing market, are returning to normal levels – and that can only mean good things for housing going forward.

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