Where Are Homeowners Sticking Around the Longest?

The pandemic and subsequent historic migration caused Americans to reevaluate what home meant to them. In a new study, All Star Home revealed which cities Americans wanted to leave and which ones they preferred to stay in.

The entire world was altered by COVID-19, and of course, it had an inevitable impact on the places that Americans choose to call home. The report examines where Americans have settled down and the potential reasons they’ve chosen to do so. 

Key Findings:

  • New York, Santa Ana, CA, and Laredo, TX, are the top three cities where homeowners stick the longest.
  • Midwest cities have the most affordable areas where homeowners stick around the longest.
  • Sticking around is the way of life for 35% of Americans who have lived in their home for 14 years or longer.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 Americans have only lived in their current home for 2 years or less.

So, where do Americans stick around the longest?

The number one city on the list is New York. Nearly 40% of people who arrived there 14 years ago or more have stayed in their homes, despite some claiming a huge outflow from the Big Apple.

Top 10 U.S. Cities Where Homeowners Stick the Most:

  1. New York (and the percentage of residents who moved in 14+ years ago: 39.80%)
  2. Santa Ana, CA (39.57%)
  3. Laredo, TX (36.60%)
  4. Garland, TX (36.56%)
  5. San Francisco (36.47%)
  6. Detroit (36.09%)
  7. San Jose, CA (35.85%)
  8. Fremont, CA (35.48%)
  9. Toledo, OH (35.47%)
  10. El Paso, TX (35.17%)

According to the report, people don’t just dream of relocating to New York; they tend to stick, whether it’s because of the jobs, the “energy” they experience in the city, the lifestyle, or the variety of cultures and activities there.

Top 10 U.S. Cities Where Homeowners Stick the Least:

  1. Orlando, FL (16.54%)
  2. Irvine, CA (18.90%)
  3. North Las Vegas, NV (19.52%)
  4. Miami (19.85%)
  5. Austin, TX (20.26%)
  6. Atlanta (20.45%)
  7. Denver (21.15%)
  8. Las Vegas (21.86%)
  9. Tampa, FL (21.97%)
  10. Reno, NV (22.10%)

With its ideal temperature and proximity to gorgeous beaches, Santa Ana, CA, attracts and retains residents, coming in second on the list, barely surpassing New York. Santa Ana provides people with a blend of an urban and suburban atmosphere, despite a higher than New York cost of living. Notably, some 39.57% of those who relocated to Santa Ana more than ten years ago have chosen to remain in the area.

Coming in third on the list is Laredo, Texas—yee haw! Laredo is a diverse border city with lots of parks and a distinctly suburban vibe. It also boasts a vibrant nightlife with something for everyone.

But not every city is worth staying in. The lowest percentage of long-term homeowners were found in North Las Vegas, NV, Orlando, FL, and Irvine, CA. Orlando is the least probable city for homeowners to stay in, perhaps due to its landlocked location, as some 16.54% of locals have left.

An important factor in determining how much homeowners love living in a place is the weather and environment. In fact, seven of the top ten places where homeowners choose to settle are in Texas or California, states where Americans may spend most of their time outside. 

Midwest Cities Capture Top Spots in Most Affordable, Beloved Cities

The cost of living can have a significant impact on Americans’ decisions to remain in or migrate out of cities, but industry and employment can also play a significant role. Three cities in the Rust Belt are among the top five most affordable and well-liked cities in the United States: Sterling Heights, Michigan, Dayton, Ohio, and Warren, Michigan.

The cost of living has dropped significantly as a result of the recent downturn in certain industries. The ordinary American can afford to live in these places since the average property value is between $289,000 and $99,000.

Top 10 Most Affordable Beloved U.S. Cities:

  1. Sterling Heights, MI (and median home value: $289,000)
  2. Dayton, OH ($99,500)
  3. Joliet, IL ($270,000)
  4. Warren, MI ($185,000)
  5. Hampton, VA ($266,000)
  6. Brownsville, TX ($230,000)
  7. Mobile, AL ($160,000)
  8. Elgin, IL ($289,950)
  9. Laredo, TX ($239,000)
  10. Garland, TX ($300,000)

Two additional spots in the top five are occupied by Hampton, VA and Joliet, IL. Both of those cities, which are in rural regions far from big cities like Chicago and Washington, and offer reasonably priced housing together with the benefit of being relatively close to a major city, making them the best places for Americans to live.

At the lowest spots on the list, Birmingham, AL, Evansville, IN, and Shreveport, LA, can attest, affordability isn’t the only factor in choosing a place to call home. Despite the fact that typical home expenditures in these areas range from $152,000 to $165,000, fewer people are choosing to live these cities permanently.

Lowest on the list, Birmingham, AL, has only 30.56% of its 14-year-plus residents sticking around, followed by Evansville, IN, (30.61%) and Shreveport, LA (30.95%).

While some of America’s top cities offer incentives to keep people inside their city bounds, whether it is through employment, entertainment, or other offerings, fewer people are choosing to establish and maintain a life for themselves in certain areas. 

To read the full report, including more data, charts, and methodology, click here.

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Demetria C. Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for MortgagePoint (formerly DS News and MReport) with more than eight years of writing and editing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is a jazz aficionado, Harry Potter fanatic, and likes to read. She can be reached at demetria.lester@thefivestar.com.
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