Study: Homeowners in Bay Area hold onto homes longer

San Francisco housing is among the most expensive in the nation.
Mark Prado

Homeowners in several larger Bay Area cities hold onto their homes longer than in other parts of the state, according to a new study by Point2Homes.com.

In the real estate industry, there’s the so-called five-year rule, which states that homebuyers should wait at least five years before selling and moving, to avoid losing money.

But owners in some California cities weren’t worried about that with average stays between 2.3 and 4.9 years in 12 of the 30 largest cities. But the report notes in the Bay Area, people are more likely to stay in their homes for longer periods:

  • Fremont: 6.1 years
  • Santa Rosa: 5.9 years
  • San Jose: 5.5 years
  • San Francisco: 5.4 years

"One factor contributing to homeowners staying put a little longer could be the growing instability brought on by the pandemic, with the instability that ensued," according to the author of the report. "Although many people were looking for larger homes and trying to buy as fast as possible, many more were probably more risk averse. Instead of selling and trying to find something better, many homeowners decided to wait and not add more uncertainty and stress to their lives." 

California’s 30 largest cities posted significant differences in homeowner tenure in 2022: Salinas residents spent 9.3 years in their home before selling it, while owners in Elk Grove who changed homes did so after just 2.3 years, on average, the report noted.

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