For most home buyers, the purchase of real estate is one of the largest financial transactions they will make. Buyers purchase a home not only for the desire to own a home of their own, but also because of changes in jobs, family situations, and the need for a smaller or larger living area. This annual survey conducted by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® of recent home buyers and sellers provides insight into detailed information about their experiences with this important transaction. Here are highlights from the latest report.
- First-time buyers made up 33 percent of all home buyers, a decrease from last year’s 34 percent.
- Sixty-three percent of recent buyers were married couples, 18 percent were single females, nine percent were single males, and eight percent were unmarried couples.
- Twelve percent of home buyers purchased a multigenerational home, to take care of aging parents, because of children over the age of 18 moving back home, and for cost-saving.
- Eighty-seven percent of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker.
- Ninety percent of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others.
Single female buyers continue to be a powerful force in the market, while low inventory, rising interest rates and increasing home prices remain, holding back first-time buyers despite notable interest in buying a home.
This is according to the National Association of Realtors®’ 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers1, which also identifies numerous current consumer and housing trends, including mounting student debt balances; the impact of pets on home buying decisions; increases in down payments for all buyers; the rising age of repeat buyers; and the fact that a vast number of respondents use a real estate agent to buy or sell a home, which kept for-sale-by-owner transactions at an all-time low.
“With the lower end of the housing market – smaller, moderately priced homes – seeing the worst of the inventory shortage, first-time home buyers who want to enter the market are having difficulty finding a home they can afford,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Homes were selling in a median of three weeks and multiple offers were a common occurrence, further pushing up home prices. These factors contributed to the low number of first-time buyers and the struggles of would-be buyers dreaming of joining the ranks of homeownership.”
Here are some additional key trends of buyers and sellers detailed in this year’s 150-page report.
Single Female Buyers continue to be a strong force in the market
For the second year in a row, single female buyers accounted for 18 percent of all buyers. The group was the second most common household buyer type behind married couples (63 percent). Single male buyers came in third and accounted for half the number of buyers as their female counterparts (9 percent). However, single males tended to purchase more expensive homes, with a median price of $215,000, compared to single females with a median price of $189,000 (the lowest of all household buyer types).
Share of first-time buyers continues to fall
The share of first-time home buyers continued a three-year decline, falling 33 percent (34 percent last year). This number has not been 40 percent or higher since the first-time home buyers credit ended in 2010.
“Low inventory, rising interest rates and student loan debt are all factors contributing to the suppression of first-time home buyers,” said Yun. “However, existing home sales data shows inventory has been rising slowly on a year-over-year basis in recent months, which may encourage more would-be buyers who were previously convinced they could not find a home to enter the market.”