Fewer Americans moved out of their homes over the past year than in any time since the federal government started recording moves in the 1940s.
Data from the United States Census Bureau released earlier this month shows that just 8.4 percent of Americans are living in a different house than they were one year prior.
That means just about 27.1 million people moved homes in the last year – the lowest rate that the bureau has recorded since 1948. Of those who did more, the majority, 58 percent, moved within the same county.
But the number of Americans who move from one home to another has been falling for decades, according to Cheryl Russell, who authors the Demo Memo blog on demographic trends.
She told The Hill that in the 1950s and 1960s about one in five Americans moved in a given year, but the number dropped to 14 percent by the turn of the century and to 11.6 percent a decade ago.
The decline comes as Americans are getting older and having fewer babies, and comes amid economic concerns.
Experts say the decline is a result of residual concerns from the Great Recession more than a decade ago, in which nearly 10 million Americans lost their homes after prices were falsely inflated, and new concerns about the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty about longer-term plans,’ Edward Berchick, a senior population scientist at real estate website Zillow told The Hill.
‘With some economic uncertainty, people just pause their plans.’
At the same time, fewer Americans are also having children, as the national birthrate reaches an all-time low, resulting in fewer families feeling the need to move into larger homes.
And America’s populace is aging, with more residents over the age of 65, an age where people are more likely to own their own home.
‘Aging boomers are clinging to their homes, as is typical of older Americans,’ Russell said. ‘Boomers are in the life stage where people typically stay put.
‘With older Americans increasingly dominating homeownership, the top-heavy age structure has reduced inventory and dampened mobility.
Fewer houses were built during the coronavirus pandemic, reducing the supply of affordable housing and forcing potential buyers into bidding wars
Fannie Mae predicts the cost of homes will remain high over the next few years
Those who do want to move, meanwhile, are facing some of the highest prices ever recorded, as construction was halted during the pandemic, reducing the supply of affordable housing options.
Census Bureau data shows the total number of housing units grew by just 6.6 percent between 2020 and 2021, while the number of vacant units dropped 8.6 percent, forcing those who wanted to buy one of the few homes on the market into a bidding war.
As a result, data from Zillow shows that the typical home value is at $312,000 – up 19 percent from last year, The Hill reports.
The third quarter of 2021 likely marked the peak of these high prices, economists at Fannie Mae said in its November housing forecast, as home inflation eased to 16.6 percent in the fourth quarter from a high of 18.6 percent in the quarter that ended September 30.
But, Fannie Mae predicts the price of homes will remain high over the next few years, with double-digit home price inflation lasting until the middle of 2022. It reports that it won’t be until 2023 that inflation returns to the 5 percent pace it was at before the pandemic.
The median price of a previously-owned house, meanwhile, would top $400,000 by the middle of 2023, with the median new home price hitting a record high of $464,000 throughout the country by the end of 2023.
Still, there is good news in the firm’s forecast. It expects the average 30-year mortgage rate to only increase to 3.5 percent by the end of 2023.
By comparison, Business Insider reports, the average rate was at 3.7 percent before the pandemic and neared 5 percent in 2018.