Aging in place results in longer homeownership tenures

Redfin study shows that aging in place preferences are impacting the housing landscape

Peak homeownership tenures in 2022 were down slightly compared to the two years prior, but the typical homeowner is still living in their home much longer than before, according to a study from Redfin.

“The typical U.S. homeowner has spent 12.3 years in their home. That’s down from the peak of 13.4 years hit in 2020 and 12.9 years in 2021,” the report states. “But the typical American is still living in their home much longer than before, with median homeowner tenure sitting at about 10 years in 2012 and 6.5 years in 2005.”

One major driver of the trend is the preference by older American homeowners at or over the age of 65 to remain in their own homes as opposed to downsizing or moving into an assisted living facility, according to the report.

“Older people aging in place are driving the general trend toward longer homeowner tenure,” the report states. “Most Americans 65 and older have owned their home for at least 23 years, and most Americans aged 35 to 64 have owned theirs for at least eight years. Compare that with homeowners under 35: Nearly half (49%) have owned their home for three years or less, and another 37% have owned theirs for four to seven years.”

Several factors appear to be driving the trend toward aging in place. In addition to older generations driving longer homeownership tenures, seniors’ desires to age in place have been clearly measured, the report notes.

The U.S. population is also growing older on average, and housing affordability remains a chronic issue keeping younger generations out of the homebuying process.

These are issues known by the reverse mortgage industry and have been core to the industry’s sales proposition in recent years. However, the acceleration of the U.S. population’s age and the increasing desire among older homeowners to remain in their homes could present the industry with a renewed opportunity to connect the dots for prospective borrowers.

One key element is forging referral partnerships, especially among financial planners. While many remain skeptical about reverse mortgages and debt-based lending in later life, reverse mortgage lenders, including OneTrust Home Loans, Finance of America Reverse (FAR) and Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, have sought to make such professionals accessible to the reverse mortgage industry in recent years.

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