Data Points to Help Steer Your Brokerage

Making use of data is a great way to convey facts rather than headlines and educate your agents.
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On a regular rotation, the National Association of REALTORS® collects and presents market data to help brokers stay up to date on market trends. Use these stats to help guide your agents and your business.

At the 2024 Broker Summit in San Diego in mid-April, Jessica Lautz, chief economist for NAR, observed that while current market trends are difficult, there’s opportunity embedded in the numbers.

Current Numbers of Note

  • Nearly a third—27%—of the agents in the field are considered new, having entered the industry since 2020, which means many agents haven’t yet experienced a market with high interest rates and low inventory. Brokers can use this moment as an educational opportunity to offer training and support.
  • Most brokerages, 82%, are one-office firms that average three full-time licensees, making the boutique brokerage the industry norm.
  • As of March 2024, home prices were at a record high—higher than those in any other March period NAR has recorded. The opportunity here is that those who have been in their homes for a while have substantial equity, and if they want to move, many can do so comfortably. Brokers should take care to educate agents on how to approach clients. Interest rate buy-downs and large down payments can offset interest rates and high costs.

A Few Stats to Take Action On

One of the most effective ways to use NAR’s data and findings is to take relevant numbers and make business decisions that reflect the current trends. Here are a few:

Add Renovation Expertise to Your Repertoire

Lautz said the average age of a purchased home in today’s market is 38 years, so there is an opportunity to educate buyers and sellers on renovation projects and partner with renovation professionals.

Millennials Outpace Boomers Yet Again

Last year, the market was all about boomers as they outbid and outbought millennials, but the tides have turned and millennials are now overtaking boomers in the marketplace. In many cases, millennials are repeat buyers, Lautz said, observing the industry needs to remember that on the older end of the millennial generation, buyers are up to 44 years old, settled in a career, with a viable income and previous experience in the real estate market.

Buyers Want to Be Close to Friends, Family

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, buyers were moving from their original locations, sometimes for hundreds of miles, but that’s subsided quite a bit, Lautz says. They’re still willing to move a little further away than before the pandemic—up to 20 miles, as opposed to the 1989 average of 10 miles away. Still, for young people, the data shows that being close to friends and family is important to young buyers.

That said, about a quarter of buyers are still moving upward of 500 miles, but data shows that it’s to be closer to grandchildren, parents or friends.

Cash Rules the Market

Nearly one-third of buyers—28%—are all-cash buyers, so they don’t care about interest rates. This means that mindset is important for brokers and agents. Yes, interest rates are high, but a substantial portion of the market isn’t worried about interest rates.

'Houses Before Spouses’

Single women and men make up one-third of the first-time buyer market, with women dominating the space, Lautz says. What’s more, 29% of Black first-time home buyers were women, signaling that they’re prioritizing homeownership. Priorities are different in today’s market, and real estate professionals need to be cognizant of what’s available for single people ready to get into homeownership.

Unique Living Situations

Still, with affordability being a key component for first-time buyers, companionship and support of varied kinds make for a market with diverse needs. Unmarried couples, friends and multiple generations of families are teaming up on homeownership to afford bigger or more comfortable living arrangements than they would be able to on their own.

Pets are also important, she says, observing that 19% of home buyers consider their pets’ needs during their search for a home.

Don’t Skimp on Tech and Online Marketing

A sticky trend—a figure that continues to surface time and again—is that buyers are purchasing homes without seeing them in person. Since the start of the pandemic-fueled housing frenzy, the number of buyers purchasing homes without setting foot in them is creeping up, and Lautz projects that it will continue to do so. That means now is as good a time as any to ensure technology is up to date and in use and that online options for potential customers to view homes are available.