Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2017

2017 PROFILE OF HOME BUYERS AND SELLERS
Highlights

Characteristics of Home Buyers
– First-time buyers made up 34 percent of all home buyers,
a decrease from last year’s 35 percent.
– The typical buyer was 45 years old this year, and the
median household income for 2016 rose again this year to
$88,800.
– Sixty-five percent of recent buyers were married couples,
18 percent were single females, seven percent were single
males, and eight percent were unmarried couples.
– Thirteen percent of home buyers purchased a multigenerational
home, to take care of aging parents, for cost
savings, and because of children over the age of 18 moving
back home.
– Eighty-nine percent of recent home buyers identified as
heterosexual, three percent as gay or lesbian, one percent
as bisexual, and seven percent preferred not to answer.
– Eighteen percent of recent home buyers are veterans and
three percent are active-duty service members.
– At 30 percent, the primary reason for purchasing a home
was the desire to own a home of their own.
Characteristics of Homes Purchased
– Buyers of new homes made up 15 percent and buyers of
previously owned homes made up 85 percent.
– Most recent buyers who purchased new homes were
looking to avoid renovations and problems with plumbing
or electricity at 36 percent. Buyers who purchased
previously-owned homes were most often considering a
better price at 32 percent.
– Detached single-family homes continue to be the most
common home type for recent buyers at 83 percent,
followed by seven percent of buyers choosing townhomes
or row houses.
– Senior-related housing stayed the same this year at 13
percent, with 16 percent of buyers typically purchasing
condos and six percent purchasing a townhouse or row
house.
– There was a median of only 15 miles between the homes
that recent buyers purchased and the homes that they
moved from.
– Home prices increased slightly this year to a median of
$235,000 among all buyers. Buyers typically purchased
their homes for 98 percent of the asking price.
– The typical home that was recently purchased was 1,870
square feet, had three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and
was built in 1991.
– Heating and cooling costs were the most important
environmental features for recent home buyers, with
85 percent finding these features at least somewhat
important.
– Overall, buyers expect to live in their homes for a median
of 15 years, while 18 percent say that they are never
moving.

The Home Search Process
– For 42 percent of recent buyers, the first step that they
took in the home buying process was to look online
at properties for sale, while 17 percent of buyers first
contacted a real estate agent.
– Seventy-nine percent of recent buyers found their real
estate agent to be a very useful information source. Online
websites were seen as the most useful information source
at 88 percent.
– Buyers typically searched for 10 weeks and looked at a
median of 10 homes.
– The typical buyer who did not use the internet during their
home search spent only four weeks searching and visited
four homes, compared to those who did use the internet
and searched for 10 weeks and visited 10 homes.
– Among buyers who used the internet during their home
search, 89 percent of buyers found photos and 84 percent
found detailed information about properties for sale very
useful.
– Sixty-one percent of recent buyers were very satisfied with
their recent home buying process.
Home Buying and Real Estate Professionals
-Eighty-seven percent of buyers recently purchased their
home through a real estate agent or broker, and seven
percent purchased directly from a builder or builder’s
agent.
– Having an agent to help them find the right home was
what buyers wanted most when choosing an agent at 52
percent.
– Forty-two percent of buyers used an agent that was
referred to them by a friend, neighbor, or relative and 12
percent used an agent that they had worked with in the
past to buy or sell a home.
– Seven in 10 buyers interviewed only one real estate agent
during their home search.
– Eighty-nine percent of buyers would use their agent again
or recommend their agent to others.
Financing the Home Purchase
– Eighty-eight percent of recent buyers financed their home
purchase. Those who financed their home purchase
typically financed 90 percent.
– First-time buyers who financed their home typically
financed 95 percent of their home compared to repeat
buyers at 86 percent.
– For 59 percent of buyers, the source of the downpayment
came from their savings. Thirty-eight percent of buyers
cited using the proceeds from the sale of a primary
residence, which was the next most commonly reported
way of securing a downpayment.
– Forty-three percent of buyers saved for their
downpayment for six months or less.
– For 13 percent of buyers, the most difficult step in the
home buying process was saving for a downpayment.
– Of buyers who said saving for a downpayment was
difficult, 49 percent of buyers reported that student loans
made saving for a downpayment difficult. Forty-two
percent cited credit card debt, and 37 percent cited car
loans as also making saving for a downpayment hard.
– Buyers continue to see purchasing a home as a good
financial investment. Eighty-three percent reported they
view a home purchase as a good investment.
Home Sellers and Their Selling Experience
– The typical home seller was 55 years old, with a median
household income of $103,300.
– For all sellers, the most commonly cited reason for selling
their home was that it was too small (16 percent), followed
by the desire to move closer to friends and family (14
percent), and a job relocation (11 percent).
– Sellers typically lived in their home for 10 years before
selling, the same as last year.
n Eighty-nine percent of home sellers worked with a real
estate agent to sell their home.
– For recently sold homes, the final sales price was a median
99 percent of the final listing price.
– Recently sold homes were on the market for a median of
three weeks, down from four weeks last year.
Highlights n Thirty-seven percent of all sellers offered incentives to
attract buyers.
– This year, home sellers cited that they sold their homes for
a median of $47,500 more than they purchased it.
– Sixty-two percent of sellers were very satisfied with the
selling process.

Home Selling and Real Estate Professionals
– Sixty-four percent of sellers found their agent through
a referral from a friend, neighbor, or relative or used an
agent they had worked with before to buy or sell a home.
– Seventy-four percent of recent sellers contacted only one
agent before finding the right agent they worked with to
sell their home.
– Ninety percent of sellers listed their homes on the
Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the number one
source for sellers to list their home.
– Seventy-six percent of sellers reported that they provided
the agent’s compensation.
– The typical seller has recommended their agent twice
since selling their home. Thirty-three percent of sellers
recommended their agent three or more times since
selling their home.
– Eighty-five percent said that they would definitely (67
percent) or probably (18 percent) recommend their agent
for future services.

For-Sale-by-Owner (FSBO) Sellers
– Only eight percent of recent home sales were FSBO sales
again this year. For the third year, this is the lowest share
recorded since this report started in 1981.
– The median age for FSBO sellers is 55 years. Seventy-four
percent of FSBO sales were by married couples that have a
median household income of $103,100.
– FSBOs typically sell for less than the selling price of other
homes; FSBO homes sold at a median of $190,000 last
year (up from $185,000 the year prior), and significantly
lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at
$250,000.
– FSBO homes sold more quickly on the market than agentassisted
homes. Fifty-eight percent of FSBO homes sold
in less than two weeks—often because homes are sold to
someone the seller knows.
– Sixty-eight percent of successful FSBO sellers who knew
the buyer were very satisfied with the process of selling
their home.

Methodology
In July 2017, NAR mailed out a 131-question survey using
a random sample weighted to be representative of sales
on a geographic basis to 145,800 recent home buyers.
The recent home buyers had to have purchased a primary
residence home between July of 2016 and June of 2017.
A total of 7,866 responses were received from primary
residence buyers. After accounting for undeliverable
questionnaires, the survey had an adjusted response rate of
5.6 percent.
Respondents had the option to fill out the survey via hard
copy or online. The online survey was available in English and
Spanish.
Consumer names and addresses were obtained from
Experian, a firm that maintains an extensive database of
recent home buyers derived from county records. Information
about sellers comes from those buyers who also sold a home.
All information in this Profile is characteristic of the 12-month
period ending June 2017, with the exception of income data,
which are reported for 2016. In some sections comparisons
are also given for results obtained in previous surveys.
Not all results are directly comparable due to changes in
questionnaire design and sample size. Some results are
presented for the four U.S. Census regions: Northeast,
Midwest, South, and West. The median is the primary
statistical measure used throughout this report. Due to
rounding and omissions for space, percentage distributions
may not add to 100 percent.
Data gathered in the report is based on primary residence
home buyers. From the 2017 Investment and Vacation Home
Buyer Survey, 70 percent of home buyers were primary
residence buyers, which accounts for 4,207,000 homes sold
in 2016. Using that calculation, the sample at the 95 percent
confidence level has a confidence interval of plus-or-minus
1.10%.

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