Move Over Homeowners, or Don’t


We just don’t move like we used to.

We are staying put, one in four homeowners having not changed their residence in over 20 years. That’s the highest share on record. The average is 13 years. Back in 2010, the average was 8.7 and in 2019 it was 12.8. You can see the trend.

Covid has played a role, at least with older folks, says Daryl Fairweather, Chief Economist at Redfin. Concern about Covid contagion in nursing homes and assisted living quarters has prompted many to stay in their homes, and states like Texas provide a disincentive to move by allowing those over 65 to defer property taxes.

We’ve been hearing a lot about Houston real estate being on fire lately, bidding wars common, and the numbers bear that out, but Fairweather provides a wider context of the national market. “Overall in Houston prices are up 7.5%, which is actually not as strong a price growth as the rest of the country.” She says the reason is because Houston offers so many newly constructed homes. Houston continues to sprawl into suburbs, a luxury cities like New York and Los Angeles lost long ago.

But Houston is engaged in the bidding wars other Texas cities are experiencing. “New listings are actually up in Houston, up 18% from last year, but the number of listings that are on the market at any one time are down 23%, and that’s because those that do hit the market are snatched up so quickly they don’t sit on the market", Fairweather explains.

In December 22% of the homes on the market in Houston enjoyed bidding wars, down from 38% in November, and on par with Dallas at 21% But Fairweather says Austin is leading the pack at more than 50%.

photo: Getty Images

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