What is the average length of home ownership? 2024

Author pictureAuthor picture
Author picture
By:
Author picture
Edited by:
a happy family in front of a house

By the end of 2023, just over 65% of the U.S. population owned a home. This is slightly lower than the rate of 65.9% at the end of 2022. Housing, family and employment are the top factors prompting homeowners to move, with 41.6% of Americans citing housing-related factors as the catalyst for a move, such as wanting a newer or bigger home and wanting to own instead of rent. The average length of U.S. home ownership in 2024 is 11.9 years. While this number is nearly double the length of homeownership recorded in 2006 (6.5 years), homeownership has actually been on the decline since 2020.

Key insights

The average U.S. homeowner stays in their home for 11.9 years.

Jump to insight

The median homeowner income was $107,000 in 2023 — a notable increase from $88,000 in 2022.

Jump to insight

The average age of a first-time homeowner is 26, while the average age of a repeat homebuyer is 56.

Jump to insight

Los Angeles, California, residents have the longest homeownership tenure at 18.7 years. By comparison, the average homeownership tenure in Louisville, Kentucky, is just 7 years.

Jump to insight

Homeownership statistics

The length of homeownership can vary significantly, with some homeowners staying in the same property for only a few years, while others may remain for decades or even their entire lifetime. Several factors can influence the duration of homeownership, including personal circumstances, financial considerations, job relocation, family dynamics, and local housing market conditions.

Homeownership by age

The median age of first-time U.S. homebuyers is 35, while the median age of repeat buyers is 58. Still, in 2022, 39% of U.S. homeowners were younger than 35, showing that younger generations are buying homes.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

A growing number of baby boomers are choosing to retire in place, and as a result, are driving up the age of the average homeowner: 40% of baby boomers have lived in their homes for at least 20 years and another 16% have lived in their home for 10 to 19 years. While 35% of Gen X have lived in their homes for at least 10 years, only 7% of millennials have.

Homeownership by income

The median income for homebuyers jumped from $88,000 in 2022 to $107,000 in 2023. This historic increase is likely due to the competitive housing market, favoring the bids of higher-income buyers.

First-time homebuyers have a median household income of $95,900, while repeat home-buyers have a median income of $111,700.

Homeownership by demographic

Of all homebuyers in 2023, 81% were Caucasian, 7% were Hispanic/Latino, 7% were Black/African American, 6% were Asian/Pacific Islander and 6% identified as ‘other.’ Ten percent of buyers were born outside of the U.S., up from 8% in 2022.

Length of homeownership

In 2024, the average length of U.S. homeownership is 11.9 years. While this number is nearly double the length of 6.5 years in 2006, home ownership has been on the decline since 2020.

Homeownership tenure by state

California homeowners tend to stay put the longest. In fact, three of the five longest tenures occur in major California cities: Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco. The average Los Angeles homeowner stays in their home for 18.7 years — the longest in the country.

Conversely, homeowners tend to move more frequently in affordable metro areas, predominantly in the South. Three of the five cities with the shortest length of homeownership are in North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Average homeownership by year

Even though the country experienced the highest homeownership rate of the decade in 2020 the U.S. housing market hasn’t quite recovered from the burst of the 2008 housing bubble.

The second quarter of 2020 recorded the highest rate of homeownership since 2007 at 68.1%, likely fueled by homeowners unwilling to move during the beginning and most uncertain part of the COVID-19 crisis. However, homeownership began to decline starting in the third quarter of that year, likely due to rising mortgage rates, inflation and an increasingly competitive housing market driven by demand.

Homeownership rate by year, Q2 2016- Q2 2023

Note that by the end of 2023, the rate of homeownership dropped slightly to 65.7%.

FAQ

What is the average length of homeownership?

The average U.S. homeowner stays in their home for 11.9 years.

Why do homeowners move?

Housing, family and employment are the top reasons why U.S. homeowners move.

What is the median age of a U.S. homeowner?

The median age of a first-time U.S. homeowner is 35.

What is the average cost of a new house in 2023?

In 2023, the average price of a new home in the U.S. in 2023 was $511,100.


References

  1. U.S. Census Bureau.”Quarterly Residential Vacancies and Homeownership, Fourth Quarter 2023.” U.S. Census Bureau. Evaluated Mar. 20, 2024.Link Here
  2. Redfin. “Homeowners Today Stay in Their Homes Twice As Long As They Did in 2005, Driven Largely By Older Americans Aging in Place.” Redfin. Evaluated Mar. 20, 2024.Link Here
  3. National Association of Realtors.”Quick Real Estate Statistics.” National Association of Realtors. Evaluated Mar. 20, 2024.Link Here
  4. U.S. Census Bureau. “Rate of Home Ownership Higher Than Before Pandemic in all Regions.” U.S.Census Bureau. Evaluated Mar. 20, 2024.Link Here
  5. National Association of Realtors. “NAR Finds Typical Home Buyer's Annual Household Income Climbed to Record High of $107,000 in Wake of Rising Home Prices and Mortgage Rates.” National Association of Realtors. Evaluated Mar. 20, 2024.Link Here
  6. Redfin. “The Typical U.S. Home Changes Hands Every 12 Years, Down From 2020 Peak.” Redfin. Evaluated Mar. 21, 2024.Link Here
  7. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. ”Home Ownership Rate in the United States.” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Evaluated Mar. 21, 2024.Link Here
  8. U.S. Census Bureau. “Why People Move.” U.S. Census Bureau. Evaluated Mar. 21, 2024.Link Here
  9. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “Percent Homeowner with Mortgage by Age.” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Evaluated April 2, 2024.Link Here

Figures