You found your dream home. You won a bidding war. You wrestled reams of mortgage documents, kept your credit tidy , and waited patiently. You loaded all your worldly possessions into boxes, hired a mover, waited for the mover, tipped the mover, and started to unpack.
Then you put your feet up on the nearest box and said, “I’m never moving again!”
Of course you did. And so did 18% of all respondents to an annual survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors – an organization, it should be noted, whose members stand to gain every time you sell, buy, and move your home.
When asked for specifics, survey respondents who are repeat home buyers told NAR that they expected to stay in their homes for a median of 15 years, up sharply from 9 years in 2006, when the organization started asking this question as part of their annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers .
Americans have never stayed in their homes as long as they expect – but actual tenures are also increasing dramatically. In 2016 and 2017 sellers had stayed in their homes a median 10 years, up from a median of six years all the way back to 1985.
That six-year span was the norm right up until the Great Recession. In fact, it’s one of the assumptions that underlies most of the bonds created from bundling the income from mortgage payments.
But now Americans are staying longer than ever, in large part because of the stagnation in the housing market since the bubble burst. Many Americans lost too much equity in their homes to make it worth moving – and there aren’t enough properties to buy.
It's also due to tighter mortgage underwriting standards, and what Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi calls “a broader decline in mobility” throughout the economy.