Do homeowners experience a seven-year itch? Online loan marketplace LendingTree has a study out exploring how long homeowners stay in their homes, and seven years is the average. However, when isolating areas by geography, some nuances appear, which study authors attribute to lack of supply.
“There are not enough houses on the market, which has contributed to significant price surges in many cities," says Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree.
Using Census data, LendingTree assessed the 50 largest U.S. cities and found, on average, a high tenure of 7.54 years in Pittsburgh to a low of 6.36 in Las Vegas. The difference may not seem like much, but research reveals a significant difference in home price appreciation that is related to the average tenure.
Cities with shorter housing tenure have greater price appreciation. The top 10 cities had an average tenure of 7.46 years and an average three-year home price appreciation of 12 percent. The bottom 10, with an average tenure of 6.63 years, have average price appreciation 30 percent. This suggests that higher housing turnover drives prices upward, while faster price appreciation could be enticing home owners to sell.
Northeast cities had the longest tenure, and sunny places had the shortest tenures. The top four cities for longest tenure of homeowners were Pittsburgh, New York, Buffalo and Philadelphia. The four cities with the shortest tenures — Las Vegas, Phoenix, Austin and Orlando — are all in warm-weather areas. This reflects high migration rates to those cities. An outlier, Denver is the only city in the bottom 10 that experiences a significant winter season.
Methodology To determine the cities with the longest housing tenure, LendingTree looked at data pulled in December 2018 from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The data includes median home values that we also included in the study. The definition of cities is from the Census Bureau's Core-Based Statistical Area (CBSA) boundaries.