It's hard to say why homeowners are choosing largely to stay put, but with interest rates still very low, the traditional case study suggest they would capitalize on substantial equity gains and move up. They are not doing it this time and the only real difference is the pandemic.
Are homeowners nervous about the future economy, the persistent potential for lockdowns, or is it some other cultural shift in the mentality of homeowners. Are millennials taking a different approach to homeownership than their parents who on average bought a new one every seven years. Perhaps they will be more like their great grandparents? Are millennials going to be a generation that stays in their first house through retirement?
I hope not, as that would not be good for us Realtors® ;) A lack of resale homes leads to a tight market and higher prices for entry level buyers. If millennials end up a buy and hold generation, the market for Gen Z will be really tough.
Baby boomers were perhaps a little too 'loose' with their equity, but one can also be too tight with it as well. Using the equity to buy a larger home or a home in a better neighborhood, closer to work, or another life benefit is not a bad idea. As with all good things in life, just don't abuse them.