Freddie Mac noted earlier this year that senior homeowners opting to age in place is constraining the housing supply available to younger would-be buyers. Now, more data is emerging to illustrate just how much longer people are staying put.
A recent Redfin report shows that in the DC area, the median homeowner had spent 13.4 years in their home in 2019, an increase from 9.2 years in 2010. This tracks with nationwide data, where the stay-put duration had increased from eight years to 13 years over the same timeframe.
The increase in homeowner tenure partially accounts for the lack of inventory on the market, as there are 38 percent fewer homes for sale in the DC area in 2019 than there were in 2010. Median sales prices have gone up at almost the same rate that inventory has dropped, going from $299,900 in the DC area in 2010 to $410,000 in 2019, an increase of 36.7 percent.
The Redfin analysis cites the increase in home prices as a disincentive for older homeowners to move, particularly as tools like reverse mortgages have become less predatory and these homeowners are better able to access their home equity. Also, the study notes that, in zip codes with WalkScore ratings which are above the metrowide average, median home tenure goes up by 11 months.
The DC area housing market has certainly exemplified the effects of tight housing supply, as prices continue to hit record highs and concentrated new construction in some areas fails to keep up with demand enough to make a dent in price growth.