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Report: Americans, especially Bostonians, would rather renovate than buy

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A view of downtown Boston from the Evelyn Moakley Bridge, Thursday, May 19, 2016, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
. Elise Amendola / AP Photo

SEATTLE — Across the country, people are largely happy with their current homes and would rather stay in them and make updates than move.

That’s particularly true in Boston, the survey found.

Across the 20 metros the real estate site Zillow surveyed, residents of Boston and Detroit were most likely to say they would renovate instead of buying a new home. In each metro, 80 percent of the respondents said they would choose to stay in their current home and make necessary updates. Los Angeles had the smallest share of respondents who would prefer to renovate.

Roughly three-quarters of the Americans surveyed would rather use a set amount of money to upgrade their home to meet their needs instead of as a downpayment on a new one.

This is especially true for older or retired Americans, the survey found. Eighty-seven percent of those who are 55 years or older, and 91 percent of retirees, said they would renovate their homes instead of using the money for a down payment on a new one.

Overall, homeowners are generally happy with their current homes, according to the 2018 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends, with 83 percent saying that they love their home. A majority of those homeowners surveyed— 63 percent — said they don’t plan to sell. The top reasons cited for not moving are that they love their home and that they don’t want to deal with the hassle of moving.

The preference to adapt a home to their needs instead of selling it could be contributing to the inventory shortage most markets are facing. Nationally, the number of homes for sale has fallen annually for 43 straight months, although the pace of the decline has slowed.

Another factor may be rising mortgage rates. Since the beginning of the year, rates have risen by more than 90 basis points, and homeowners who have a low mortgage rate may not want to lose that advantage by buying a new house at a higher one.

‘‘Even in a seller’s market, simultaneously buying and selling is an exercise in frustration. Add to that the emotional history between you and your home, and it’s no wonder low inventory has been in a self-fulfilling cycle,’’ said Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s director of economic research and outreach. ‘‘Homeowners may hesitate to sell because of limited options for them as buyers, but by holding on to their homes, they are themselves contributing to low inventory.’’

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