Top 11 Findings from the 2011 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

The 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was recently released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Let’s cut down the monstrous report into the 11 most interesting findings.

1.  Median sales prices are up. Median sales prices increased from $179,000 in the 2010 report to $190,000. The increase comes after two years of steadily declining prices, raising hopes of a 2012 market rebound.

2.  First-time buyers are older. The typical first-time homebuyer is 31 years old, which is a one year increase from the 2010 report.

3.  Buyers have a higher median household income. The median household income for buyers is now $80,900, a 12 percent increase from the 2010 report.

4.  Most buyers considered purchasing a foreclosure. The 2011 report found that 55 percent of buyers considered purchasing foreclosed properties. Interested buyers detailed several roadblocks that ultimately prevented their purchase of foreclosures. Of buyers who considered foreclosures but purchased other homes, 29 percent were unable to find the right foreclosure to buy, 15 percent were frustrated with the complexity of the process and 15 percent reported homes in poor condition.

5.  Buyers love the Internet. In their search for homes, 88 percent of buyers used the Internet, 87 percent used real estate agents, 55 percent relied on yard signs, 45 percent attended open houses, and 30 percent reviewed print or newspaper ads. Forty percent of buyers found the home they ultimately purchased through the Internet, while 35 percent found their purchased property through an agent.

6.  First-time homebuyers represent a smaller market share. The first-time homebuyer tax credit of 2010 resulted in a record-high market share of 50 percent for novice buyers. The 2011 profile showed a significant drop in the first-time homebuyer market share, at only 37 percent of total sales.

7.  Sellers are older and are staying in their homes longer. The median age for sellers in the 2011 report was 53, while the 2010 report showed a median seller’s age of 49. Sellers are hanging onto their homes for an average of nine years, which is up from eight years in the 2010 report.

8.  Most sellers use real estate agents. The percentage of sellers using real estate agents remained virtually unchanged at 87 percent. Only 10 percent of sales were for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) transactions, which is one percent above the record-low 2010 figure.

9.  Sales prices of agent-sold homes are higher than FSBO homes. The median sales price for sellers who used an agent was $215,000. This figure soars above the $150,000 median sales price for a home sold directly by the owner.

10.  Buyers and sellers use referrals to find agents. The 2011 profile found that 39 percent of sellers and 41 percent of buyers find an agent through referrals. Even in the age of social media, buyers and sellers rely on referrals more than any other source to locate quality agents.

11.  Buyers and sellers appreciate the service provided by agents. Almost nine out of ten buyers and 85 percent of sellers would likely recommend their agent to others. Nice work, agents!