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Owners Stay Home During Housing Depression

By Steve Cook Real Estate Economy Watch   |   Nov. 7, 2010 at 12:30 PM   |   Comments

Homeowners are staying put as long as they possibly can and house flipping is almost nonexistent today as consumers weather the longest housing depression in modern times.

The percentage of homeowners who sold after owning only one year or less has fallen 50 percent since the height of the housing boom. Only a third as many home sellers who sold last year had owned their homes for three years or less, according to the latest annual Home Buyers and Sellers Profile released by the National Association of Realtors at its annual meeting in New Orleans last week.

Among sellers who sold their homes in 2006, during the final months of the housing boom, 6 percent of sellers had owned their property for less than a year and a total of 30 percent had owned for three years or less. In 2010, only 3 percent had owned their home for less than a year and a total of 11 percent had owned for three years or less, the study found.

Tenure has been steadily rising during the depression. The average seller last year had been in their previous home for eight years, up from seven years in the 2009 study. In 2007 the national average tenure was six years.

Since 2007, the national median home price has fallen 21.6 percent. Four years ago, 97 percent of sellers sold at the listing price and the typical home was on market was only eight weeks.

"The house flipping and quick gains which occurred during the boom period were abnormal, driven by risky, easy-money financing that should never have been allowed in the market," said NAR President Vicki Cox Golderer.

NAR mailed an eight-page questionnaire in July 2010 to a national sample of 111,004 home buyers and sellers who purchased their homes between July 2009 and June 2010, according to county records. It generated 8,449 usable responses; the adjusted response rate was 7.9 percent. All information is characteristic of the 12-month period ending in June 2010 with the exception of income data, which are for 2009.

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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