Characteristics of Home Buyers
• Forty-seven percent of recent home buyers were first-time buyers.
• The typical first-time home buyer was 30 years old, while the typical repeat buyer was 48 years old.
• The 2008 median household income of buyers was $73,100. The median income was $61,600 among first-time buyers and $88,100 among repeat buyers.
• Twenty-one percent of recent home buyers were single females, and 10 percent were single males.
• For one-third of recent home buyers, the primary reason for the recent home purchase was a desire to own a home.
Characteristics of Homes Purchased
• New home purchases were at the lowest level in eight years—down to 18 percent of all recent home purchases.
• The typical home purchased was 1,800 square feet in size and was built in 1991.
• Seventy-eight percent of home buyers purchased a detached single family home.
• The median price of home purchased was $210,000 in the Northeast, $158,000 in the Midwest, $175,000 in the South, and $240,000 in the West.
• When considering the purchase of a home, commuting costs were considered very or somewhat important by 78 percent of buyers.
The Home Search Process
• For more than one-third of home buyers, the first step in the home-buying process was looking online for properties.
• Nine in ten home buyers and 94 used the Internet to search for homes.
• Real estate agents were viewed as a very useful information source by 81 percent of buyers who used an agent while searching for a home.
• The typical home buyer searched for 12 weeks and viewed 12 homes.
Home Buying and Real Estate Professionals
• Seventy-seven percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker.
• Ten percent of buyers purchased a home in foreclosure, up from 3 percent in 2008.
• Forty-four percent of buyers found their agent through a referral from a friend or family member.
Financing the Home Purchase
• Ninety-two percent of home buyers financed their recent home purchase.
• The percentage of first-time buyers who financed 100 percent of the purchase price with a mortgage dropped to 15 percent from 23 percent last year.
• Nearly half (47 percent) of home buyers reported they have made some sacrifices such as reducing spending on luxury items, entertainment or clothing.
• One-fifth of first-time buyers reported their mortgage application and approval process was somewhat more difficult than they expected, and one-in-ten reported it was much more difficult than expected.
Home Sellers and Their Selling Experience
• About half of home sellers traded up to a larger size and higher priced home and slightly more than one-fifth traded down to a smaller and less expensive home.
• Eighty-five percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home.
• Recent sellers typically sold their homes for 95 percent of the listing price, and 60 percent reported they reduced the asking price at least once.
• Forty-two percent of sellers offered incentives to attract buyers, most often assistance with home warranty policies and closing costs.
Home Selling and Real Estate Professionals
• Forty percent of sellers who used a real estate agent found their agents through a referral by friends or family, and 26 percent used the agent they worked with previously to buy or sell a home.
• Ninety percent of sellers reported that their home was listed or advertised on the Internet.
• Among recent sellers who used an agent, 81 percent reported they would definitely (59 percent) or probably (22 percent) use that real estate agent again or recommend to others.
For-Sale-by-Owner (FSBO) Sellers
• The share of home sellers who sold their home without the assistance of a real estate agent was 11 percent. About half of them, 45 percent, knew the buyer prior to home purchase.
• The primary reason that sellers choose to sell their home without the assistance of a real estate agent to a buyer they did not know was that they did not want to pay a fee or commission (49 percent).
• Nearly one-third of FSBO sellers took no action to market their home, and 57 percent did not offer any incentives to attract buyers.
• Eighteen percent of FSBO sellers reported preparing or fixing up the home for sale was their most difficult task, while 15 percent reported getting the price right and an additional 15 percent reported understanding and performing paperwork was the hardest part of selling their home.
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