Homeowners seem to be pulling up stakes faster this year, after staying put longer in 1995.

That suggests more business for mortgage bankers, said John Pfister, research manager at Chicago Title and Trust Co.

"If I were looking to expand, this is the kind of data I'd consider," Mr. Pfister said.

Last year the average homeowner who moved had stayed in the previous digs 12.6 years, according to Chicago Title survey. That was a slowdown from 1994, when the turnover rate was 11.8%

But strong sales early this year point to a speed-up, the company says. It expects average 1996 turnover to hit 11 years or less.

Chicago Trust expects growing acceptance of adjustable-rate mortgages to offset recent rate rises, which discourage moving. A widening spread between fixed and adjustable rates has sent many borrowers into the ARMs market.

Growing areas saw the fastest turnover in homeownership last year, and that's not surprising, Mr. Pfister said. "The more active a market is, the more sales and resales it will see," he said.

Arizona, a blazing market, had the nation's fastest turnover rate last year; homeowners there kept their homes 6.6 years on average. Next came Nevada, with a rate of 7.1 years, and North Carolina, at 7.9.

Conversely, the mature New York market had the lowest turnover; the average homeowner there stayed put for 20.4 years. Maine followed closely, with an average of 20.2 years.

Overall, housing expanded nationally by 1.5% last year, with the addition of 972,000 units. Sales fell by 4.8%, or 262,700, from 1994.

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