Characteristics of Home Buyers
• First-time buyers made up 35 percent of all home buyers, an increase over last year’s near all-time low of 32 percent.
• The typical buyer was 44 years old again for the third straight year in a row, and the median household income for 2015 rose again this year to $88,500.
• Sixty-six percent of recent buyers were married couples, 17 percent were single females, seven percent were single males, and eight percent were unmarried couples.
• Eleven 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.
• Ninety 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 two percent are active-duty service members.
• At 31 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 14 percent and buyers of previously owned homes made up 86 percent.
• Most recent buyers who purchased new homes were looking to avoid renovations and problems with plumbing or electricity at 34 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 14 percent, with 20 percent of buyers typically purchasing condos and eight percent purchasing townhomes or row houses.
• There was a median of 12 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 $227,700 among all buyers. Buyers typically purchased their homes for 98 percent of the asking price.
• The typical home that was recently purchased was 1,900 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 84 percent finding these features at least somewhat important.
• Overall, buyers expect to live in their homes for a median of 12 years, while 18 percent say that they are never moving.
The Home Search Process
• For 44 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 at 86 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 85 percent found detailed information about properties for sale very useful.
• Sixty percent of recent buyers were very satisfied with their recent home buying process, up from 59 percent a year ago. Home Buying and Real Estate Professionals
• Eighty-eight percent of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, and six 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 50 percent.
• Forty-two percent of buyers used an agent that was referred to them by a friend, neighbor, or relative and 11 percent used an agent that they had worked with in the past to buy or sell a home.
• Nearly seven in 10 buyers interviewed only one real estate agent during their home search.
• Eighty-eight 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 96 percent of their home compared to repeat buyers at 84 percent.
• For 61 percent of buyers, the source of the downpayment came from their savings. Thirty-five 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 percent of buyers saved for their downpayment for six months or less.
• The most difficult step in the home buying process was saving for a downpayment, as cited by 13 percent of respondents.
• 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 percent cited credit card debt, and 34 percent cited car loans as also making saving for a downpayment difficult.
• Buyers continue to see purchasing a home as a good financial investment. Eighty-two percent reported they view a home purchase as a good investment.
Home Sellers and Their Selling Experience
• The typical home seller was 54 years old, with a median household income of $100,700.
• For all sellers, the most commonly cited reason for selling their home was that it was too small (18 percent), followed by the desire to move closer to friends and family (15 percent), and a job relocation (14 percent).
• Sellers typically lived in their home for 10 years before selling, an increase from nine years in last year’s report.
• 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 98 percent of the final listing price.
• Recently sold homes were on the market for a median of four weeks.
• Thirty-six percent of all sellers offered incentives to attract buyers.
• This year, home sellers cited that they sold their homes for a median of $43,100 more than they purchased it.
• Sixty-one 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-two percent of recent sellers contacted only one agent before finding the right agent they worked with to sell their home.
• Ninety-two 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-seven percent of sellers reported they provided the agents' 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 (70 percent) or probably (15 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 second year, this is the lowest share recorded since this report started in 1981.
• The median age for FSBO sellers is 59 years. Seventy-three percent of FSBO sales were by married couples that have a median household income of $100,600.
• FSBOs typically sell for less than the selling price of other homes; FSBO homes sold at a median of $185,000 last year (down from $210,000 the year prior), and significantly lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at $245,000.
• FSBO homes sold more quickly on the market than agent assisted homes. Sixty-seven percent of FSBO homes sold in less than two weeks—often because homes are sold to someone the seller knows.
• Seventy-one percent of successful FSBO sellers who knew the buyer were satisfied with the process of selling their home.