Trulia: Americans are Staying Put Instead of Moving

The rate at which Americans are moving from one home to another is flat, year over year, but is down over the long term at 11.7% who moved in the past year. 

And over time, Americans have picked up more than a year, on average, that they spend in a given home, says real estate giant Trulia. That average has risen from 7 years to 8.5 years since 2003, and is up from about 5 years during the 1950s and 60s. 

The trend is largely driven by economic swings and job stability, as job changes tend to be a motivator for moves from one city to another, Trulia’s chief economist Jeff Kolko writes in a blog post this week. 

“What explains this long-term decline in mobility? Some academic researchers have found that the economic benefit of switching jobs has fallen over time,” Kolko writes. “Since a job is often the reason people move, that means the economic benefits of moving have fallen. In fact, the decline in mobility has mostly been a drop in longer-distance moves, that is, moves to a different county. Moves within the same county have stayed relatively steady since 2000.”

Trulia cites Census data released this week in its analysis, noting a higher mobility rate for people who move within the same county than for those who move across different counties. 

Their motivators for moving are also changing over time. 

“During the boom, compared with the period after the bubble burst, more people moved to have a new or better home, or because they wanted to own instead of rent,” Kolko writes. “By contrast, during the recession, the percentage of people who moved for cheaper housing went up.”

View the Trulia analysis.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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