Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

  • According to data from the latest Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) sellers decreased in 2010, continuing a trend in declines downward. Fourteen percent of sales were FSBOs in 2003 and 2004, compared to just nine percent in 2010. In this tough market, a larger proportion of sellers are turning to agents to help them sell their homes.
  • FSBOs are more popular in rural areas and center cities. Typically FSBO sellers have lower median incomes and are more often singles. FSBOs are also more common for mobile home sales.
  • Many sellers who opt for FSBOs are selling their property to someone they know like a friend, relative, or neighbor. This helps keep FSBOs on the market for less time and more often sellers receive 100 percent of the asking price.
  • FSBOs are less likely to use incentives. Yard signs and Internet listings are the most popular method of marketing FSBOs.
  • FSBO sellers most often struggle with pricing and preparing homes for sale. Of those who used FSBOs to sell to someone they knew, a greater share would use a real estate agent when selling their current home.
  • Because of the falling FSBO share, NAR’s reported home sales will contain a degree of overstatement.  The existing home sales figure in theory captures all home sales, both FBSOs and those flowing through MLSs.  However, the month-to-month trends are based solely on MLS data.  A revision to NAR’s home sales figure is expected in a month or two.
  • The 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers will be released in November.
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