Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Home Buyers Use of an Agent in Transaction Has Risen For Past Decade

  • From the 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, chart 4-1 on page 59 shows 89 percent of recent buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker.
  • Chart 4-1 also provides a trend line of how buyers purchased a home from 2001 to 2011 - 89 percent is the highest share on the chart. In 2001, only 69 percent of buyers purchased through a real estate agent or broker.
  • More than ever home buyers are relying on real estate agents and brokers to help them with their home purchase regardless of whether the home they are buying is a foreclosure, short sale, or even a FSBO sale because they need a real estate agent to help them through the process.
  • Overall, the 2011 Profile shows only 7 percent of recent home buyers bought through a builder or builder’s agent and 4 percent bought through the previous owner.

  • Additionally, as the question is phrased in the survey which is shown in chart 4-6, 60 percent of recent buyers had an oral or written arrangement with the real estate agent or broker so that the buyer’s agent only represented the buyer and not the seller. Twenty-nine percent did not have this arrangement and 11 percent of recent home buyers did not know if they had the arrangement or not.
  • While 29 percent of buyers did not have this arrangement, it is not clear whether when the buyer purchased a home the buyer’s agent was also the selling agent or whether the buyer ended up purchasing a home that their buyer’s agent was not the listing agent.

For more information on the 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, click here.

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