Report: Americans Are Staying Put, Not Moving

Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 12:12 PM

By Andrea Billups

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Household mobility is on the decline as more Americans aren't moving around the country, especially after more people bought homes during the 1990s, keeping them tied closer to home, Business Insider reports.

Homeowners are seen as less likely to move as the cost to do so has also risen along with broker fees, transaction costs, mortgage fees, as well as insurance, driving up the decline, which first began showing signs of slowing in the mid-'80s, the website noted.

Negative home equity for many is also seen as a factor, and such mobility rates are correlated with age, with most people more likely on the go when they are in their 20s.

Things could improve, however. From 2004 onward, the homeownership rate has been on the skids, noted Michelle Meyer of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

"Homeowners are less mobile than renters — from 2012 to 2013, 25 percent of renters moved compared to 5 percent of owners. The shift toward greater renting should boost the aggregate mobility rate," Meyer told Business Insider. "As home prices continue to rise, a growing number of homeowners will move into positive equity, allowing for greater mobility."

For the first quarter of 2014, homeownership rates dipped to historic lows — 64.8 percent — the Greenville News reported, citing the U.S. Census. That figure is the lowest in 19 years.

The dip has fueled a rental market boom, with March-to-May rental rates described as "one of the strongest three-month stretches we've seen in the 19 years we've been tracking movements," Jay Denton, a vice president at Axiomatrics, told the News.

He added that rental growth was 2.4 percent nationwide during the second quarter of this year — a high point since 2000.

A report released last month by Fannie Mae also shed light on fears that the growing number of baby boomers entering retirement could impact the housing marketplace.

Most in the study said they were not planning on downsizing their housing, even as they left the workforce, the U.S. Finance Post reported.

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