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Ask Eli: What is the Average Length of Home Ownership?

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: How long do most people in Arlington live in their home before selling?

Answer: Arlington’s transient nature leads to a much shorter length of home ownership than the rest of the US.

The average homeowner lives in his or her house/apartment for an average of 9.4 years (median 7.2 years) while the national long-run average is 13.3 years, according to this study from the National Association of Home Builders.

I was curious if certain factors like condo vs. single-family or number of bedrooms has an impact on the average length of home ownership in Arlington. Below I pulled over 3,200 recent homes sales, excluding investment properties, in Arlington and looked at the impact different factors have on average length of ownership.

Key Takeaways

  • Property type, number of bedrooms, purchase price and location have surprisingly little influence on the length of home ownership
  • Property age has the biggest impact on length of ownership. Owners of homes built before 1990 stayed for 10.4 years while owners of homes built since 1990 average just 6.8 years.
  • One may draw the conclusion that homeowners living in the 22205 zip code are the happiest with their neighborhood and neighbors, staying put an average of 2.4 years longer than the rest of Arlington homeowners (Kautter would agree)
  • Of all 3,200+ data points, the longest length of home ownership was 55.8 years in… you guessed it… 22205! There were eight owners who lived in the same home for over 50 years (four of them in 22205!). 10% of the owners lived in their home for 20+ years.

People paying over $1.5M for their home stay an average of 2.4 years less than those buying homes under $1.5M

The County-wide averages were about what I expected, but I assumed single-family home ownership would be substantially greater than two years longer than condo ownership, and there were a couple of other averages that surprised me as well. I hope you found the data as interesting as I did!

As a reminder to all current and future home-buyers, taking the time to think about how long you’re likely to live in your next home if a critical, often overlooked, decision in forming a good home-buying strategy.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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