With Seattle’s hyper-competitive housing market, it’s no wonder that those who are able to snag a home in the city might choose to stay for quite some time. Low inventory exacerbated by the pandemic, along with rising home costs (the median cost of a home in Seattle is now around $800,000) have certainly created a headache for the city’s home buyers.
Adding to the frustrations of would-be buyers is the percentage of homeowners who have stayed put, living in their properties for decades without moving. According to a recent Seattle Times article, more than 20,000 homeowners (about 13% of the total homeowners in Seattle) have lived in their homes for more than 30 years.
While this may sound like a sizeable chunk of the homeowning population, compared to other large cities, Seattle is actually light in this category. In another city with a notoriously competitive housing market, San Francisco, about 25% of homeowners have stayed put for the same length of time.
Part of the reason Seattle’s percentage is lower may be due to the fact that the Emerald City is growing faster than San Francisco, with more new owner-occupied properties. Owner-occupied homes in Seattle numbered about 151,000 in 2019, a 16% increase from 2010. San Francisco has only seen an increase of about 10% in the same period.
The national average for long-term homeowners is around 17% of the population, with Detroit leading the nation at 31%, and Las Vegas trailing with only 6%.
Even within Seattle, the percentage of long-term homeowners varies wildly between neighborhoods. Areas like the International District and South Lake Union have virtually no long-term owners, while Ravenna and Seward Park top out with around 30% of homeowners living in their homes for over 30 years.
This article was originally posted on the Seattle Times by Gene Balk.