15 Cities Where Residents Have Been Longest


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Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on Filterbuy.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic observers – and many frustrated homebuyers – have commented broadly on the highly competitive housing market. For many middle-class families, savings rates rose while much of the economy shut down last year, while federal stimulus spending enabled strong stock market returns and lower mortgage interest rates. These factors have prompted an influx of people into the real estate market looking to buy or upgrade their homes.

Unfortunately for these potential buyers, the market has not seen a proportionate increase in inventory, with the inventory of available housing hitting record lows earlier in the pandemic. Living space has gained new value during the pandemic, and the prospect of searching for a new home in such a competitive market has discouraged many potential sellers. As a result, many homeowners have chosen to remain well positioned even with this strong sellers market. The result has been record low inventories and record high prices for homes that reach sale.

However, beyond the extraordinary real estate conditions of the pandemic era, one of the major factors driving the current market is a generational shift in home purchases. Baby boomers were until recently the largest generation of Americans, and most baby boomers reached home buying age in the late 1970s and continued to be the bulk of the market for several decades afterward. Because many boomers have chosen obsolescence in place rather than downsizing, 13.5 million homeowners, or 17% of the total, have been in their current homes for at least 30 years. This creates challenges for millennials – now the most populous – many of whom are looking to buy their first or second home.

Some regions witness this phenomenon more than others. Hawaii leads the nation in long-term home ownership with 26.4% of homeowners living in their homes for 30 years or more. Many of the other top states in the Northeast are in places like Pennsylvania (24.4%), New York (23.9%), and Rhode Island (23.3%). These states tend to have older and more stable populations, along with higher housing costs or difficulties developing new stock. These factors encourage homeowners to hold on to properties they have paid for in full or where their housing costs are restricted at a lower level than they would face in the current market. At the other end of the spectrum, developing states such as Nevada (5.9%), Arizona (8.9%) and Florida (10.5%) have the lowest share of long-term owners, as new residents move in and quickly tap a growing stock of housing.

Big metro trains whose residents have stayed indoors for the longest time

happy couple at home
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Many of the same forces play a role in the metro slate as residents spend the longest time in their homes, where the slate dominates in locations where housing costs are higher, residents are older, or both. To identify these sites, researchers at Filterbuy used data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to calculate the share of owners who moved 30 years or more ago. In the event of a tie, the site with a higher share of owners who moved 20-29 years ago ranked higher.

Here are the large metros (population 1 million or more) whose residents spend the longest time indoors.

15. San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara, California

San Jose homes
pbk-pg / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 19.4%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 18.2%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 26.2%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 36.1%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 365,949
  • Population: 1,990,660

14. Detroit Warren Dearborn, Michigan

House in Dearborn, Michigan
James R. Martin / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 19.5%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 16.8%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 22.4%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 41.4%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 1,197,860
  • Population: 4319629

13. Milwaukee-Wakesha, Wisconsin

Milwaukee Homes
Henrique Sadura / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 19.7%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 17.3%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 25.6%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 37.4%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 380,470
  • Population: 1,575,179

12. Boston – Cambridge – Newton, MA – NH

Boston, Massachusetts
Sunny Chanruangvanich / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 20.0%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 16.6%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 23.7%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 39.7%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 1,142,121
  • Population: 4,873,019

11. San Francisco – Oakland – Berkeley, California

Homes in San Francisco, California
Sergey Novikov / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 20.9%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 16.3%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 23.9%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 38.8%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 930,250
  • Population: 4,731,803

10. Los Angeles – Long Beach – Anaheim, California

Long Beach California Homes
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  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 21.6%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 19.0%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 25.1%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 34.2%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 2,108,041
  • Population: 13.214.799

9. New Orleans Metairie, Los Angeles

Homes in New Orleans, Louisiana
Ellie-Rose Cousins ​​/ Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 21.7%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 16.9%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 26.9%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 34.5%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 307.875
  • Population: 1,270,530

8. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

Philadelphia neighborhood homes
AnjelikaGr / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 21.8%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 17.3%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 26.6%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 34.3%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 1,549,373
  • Population: 6,102,434

7. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

New York City Houses District
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 21.9%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 18.2%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 25.9%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 33.9%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 3,611,484
  • Population: 19.216.182

6. Hartford – East Hartford – Middletown, Connecticut

House in Hartford, Connecticut
John Billos / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 22.0%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 16.4%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 26.8%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 34.8%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 314165
  • Population: 1,204,877

5. Rochester, New York

Homes Homes in Rochester New York
SGreg3 / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 22.1%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 17.7%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 25.2%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 35.1%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 289876
  • Population: 1,069,644

4. Cleveland Illyria, Ohio

woman eating breakfast
Henrique Sadura / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 22.9%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 18.1%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 24.6%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 34.3%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 560150
  • Population: 2,048,449

3. Providence Warwick, RI-MA

Providence Homes, Rhode Island
Joey Brown / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 23.8%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 17.7%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 24.4%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 34.1%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 389481
  • Population: 1,624,578

2. Buffalo Chictoga, New York

New York Buffalo Homes
Richard Cavalieri / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 25.6%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 16.7%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 24.2%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 33.5%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 321,024
  • Population: 1,127,983

1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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  • Percentage of owners who moved more than 30 years ago: 27.8%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 20-29 years ago: 16.7%
  • Percentage of owners who moved 10-19 years ago: 22.6%
  • Percentage of owners who moved in less than 10 years ago: 32.9%
  • Total owner-occupied households: 701328
  • Population: 2,317,600

Detailed and methodological results

big lady in the house
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The data used in this analysis is from the 2019 American Community Survey of the US Census Bureau. To determine which sites have had residents in their homes for the longest, the researchers calculated the share of owners who moved 30 or more years ago. In the event of a tie, the site with a higher share of owners who moved 20-29 years ago ranked higher. To improve convenience, urban areas with at least 100,000 residents are included.

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