Southern California homeowners are keeping their homes longer and longer, a trend that is growing across the country.
According to Attom Data Solutions, an Irvine-based housing research firm, homeowners selling their homes this last spring owned them for an average of 9.4 years. The average length of ownership in spring of 2008 was just 4.6 years.
The reasons for not selling vary from changing demographics, taxes, increasing mortgage rates, and difficulty finding another house.
Staying put has larger effects. It can hinder economic growth while hurting the businesses who depend on home sales to keep the afloat.
“It’s creating a logjam of inventory, especially in the first-time buyers’ category. Move-up buyers are staying in their homes longer, and that affects the first-time buyer.”
Homeowners get discouraged when they have a hard time finding a new house, keeping them from selling, which contributes to the shortage of houses for sale.
Michael Mahon, president of First Team Real Estate, said:
"The one thing we’ve heard consistently is with housing affordability being what it is, even with having a lot of equity … (homeowners) are concerned how much purchasing power that equity gets them."
With all of these people keeping their homes, the renovation sector is seeing booming business. Israel Battres, owner of Battres Construction in Santa Ana, said:
“Most of my homeowners are staying put and remodeling. It’s a seller’s market. If they go and sell their home, they’re going to move into a place that needs remodeling. So they choose to stay in their home and make it their forever home.”