NAR Survey Methodology

For more than 50 years, The National Association of REALTORS® has been dedicated to fundamental and meaningful research. NAR uses the following methods and process to conduct data collection and analysis.

Sampling is a method used in statistics to efficiently analyze a general population. While it is difficult to survey the entire population, researchers use sample groups to conduct their inquiries. For that reason, sampling frequently requires random selection in order to create a more representative sample. For instance, to find out how members feel about a new issue or proposal, NAR would send the survey to 50,000 random members or a target population of 50,000 residential members or 50,000 commercial members.

In some cases, NAR researchers may need to oversample a group, or receive higher responses from those in a particular state or who are passionate about a particular issue. Accordingly, a sample may be weighted to more accurately represent the population as a whole. For example, for the Member Profile, NAR oversamples states and locals who are interested in a proprietary report. If more responses are received from a particular state than from other states, that state is down-weighted so it is not overrepresented.  

A margin of error is used to ensure confidence in sampling. NAR researchers strive to have margins of error under +/- 2.0 percent. For smaller populations, they focus on the margin of error to ensure reliability and accurate consideration as quantitative data.

Both REALTOR® members and American households are asked to participate in surveys on a frequent basis. For surveys of members, the typical size of the sample is 2,000 responses. NAR conducts over 150 surveys annually of members. On a monthly basis, a phone survey of 900 American households is conducted and reported quarterly in the Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) report. Annually, NAR conducts the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey, which is mailed to recent buyers who purchased a home in the last year. The recent buyers have the opportunity to mail back a paper survey, or fill out the survey online. The online survey is conducted in both English and Spanish.