Highlights From the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

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For most home buyers, the purchase of real estate is one of the largest financial transactions they will make. Buyers purchase a home not only for the desire to own a home of their own, but also because of changes in jobs, family situations, and the need for a smaller or larger living area. This annual survey conducted by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® of recent home buyers.

This report examines:


Characteristics of Home Buyers

  • First-time buyers made up 32%, up from last year's 26%. This increase is still below the 38% average seen since 1981.
  • The typical first-time buyer was 35 years old this year, slightly down from 36 last year, while the typical repeat buyer age fell to 58 years from an all-time high of 59 years.
  • 59% of recent buyers were married couples, 19% were single females, 10% were single males, and 9% were unmarried couples. This is the lowest share of married couples since 2010.
  • 70% of recent buyers did not have a child under the age of 18 in their home. This is the highest share recorded. In 1985, 42% of households did not have a child under the age of 18.
  • 14% of home buyers purchased a multigenerational home, to take care of aging parents, because of children or relatives over the age of 18 moving back home, and for cost-savings.
  • 81% of buyers were White/Caucasian, 7% were Hispanic/Latino, 7% were Black/African-American, 6% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 6% identified as some other race.
  • 88% of recent home buyers identified as heterosexual, 3% as gay or lesbian, 2% as bisexual, 1% prefer to self-describe, and 6% preferred not to answer.
  • 16% of recent home buyers were veterans and 2% were active-duty service members.
  • At 26%, the primary reason for purchasing a home was the desire to own a home of their own. For first-time buyers, this number jumps to 60%.

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Characteristics of Homes Purchased

  • 13% of buyers purchased a new home, and 87% of buyers purchased a previously-owned home.
  • Most recent buyers who purchased new homes were looking to avoid renovations and problems with plumbing or electricity at 45%. Buyers who purchased previously-owned homes were most often considering better price at 38%.
  • Detached single-family homes continued to be the most common home type for recent buyers at 79%, followed by townhouses or row houses at 8%.
  • Senior-related housing increased this year to 19% from 7% last year (for buyers over the age of 60), with 17% of buyers typically purchasing condos and 12% purchasing a townhouse or row house.
  • The median distance between the home that recent buyers purchased and the home they moved from was 20 miles. This is a decline from 50 miles last year, but is a reversion back towards the previously held norm of 15 miles.
  • For buyers, 60% cited quality of the neighborhood as the most important factor determining the location. Convenience to friends and family and overall affordability of homes were cited at 45% and 39%.
  • Buyers typically purchased their homes for 100% of the asking price, with 25% purchasing for more than asking price.
  • The typical home that was recently purchased was 1,860 square feet, had three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and was built in 1985.
  • Overall, buyers expected to live in their homes for a median of 15 years, while 22% said that they were never moving.
Living room with cathedral ceilings and stairway to upper floor

The Home Search Process

  • For 41% of recent buyers, the first step that they took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale, while 20% of buyers first contacted a real estate agent.
  • 90% of recent buyers found their real estate agent to be a very or somewhat useful information source.
  • Buyers typically searched for 10 weeks and looked at a median of 7 homes, and viewed 4 homes only online. The number of weeks searching is unchanged from the 2022 report.
  • All home buyers used the internet to search for a home. The most valuable content on websites were photos, detailed information about properties for sale, floor plans, and the real estate agent contact information.
  • 92% of recent buyers were at least somewhat satisfied with their recent home buying process.
Agent in foyer of home with clients

Home Buying and Real Estate Professionals

  • 89% of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, and 6% purchased directly through the previous owner.
  • Having an agent to help them find the right home was what buyers wanted most when choosing an agent at 50%.
  • 43% of buyers used an agent that was referred to them by a friend, neighbor, or relative, 13% used an agent that they had worked with in the past to buy or sell a home, 7% found their agent when inquiring about a specific property found online, and 7% found their agent through a website without a specific reference.
  • 71% of buyers interviewed only one real estate agent during their home search.
  • 90% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others.

Woman in suit at table with clients shaking hands

Financing the Home Purchase

  • 80% of recent buyers financed their home purchase, up slightly from 78% last year, but still down from 87% in 2021.
  • The typical downpayment for first-time buyers was 8%, while the typical downpayment for repeat buyers was 19%.
  • For 54% of buyers, the source of the downpayment came from their savings. 53% of repeat buyers cited using the proceeds from the sale of a primary residence, while 23% of first-time buyers used a gift or loan from friends or family for the downpayment.
  • For first-time home buyers, 38% said saving for a downpayment was the most difficult step in the process.
  • The majority of first-time buyers did make financial sacrifices to purchase a home. For those who did, the most common sacrifices buyers reported were cutting spending on luxury goods, entertainment, and clothes.
  • Buyers continue to see purchasing a home as a good financial investment. 82% reported they view a home purchase as a good investment.
Couple talking to loan manager

Home Sellers and Their Selling Experience

  • The typical home seller was 60 years old, unchanged from last year.
  • For all sellers, the most commonly cited reason for selling their home was the desire to move closer to friends and family (23%), because the home is too small (13%), or a change in the family situation such as marriage, divorce, or new child (10%).
  • Sellers typically lived in their home for 10 years before selling. Among seven of the last 10 years, the typical tenure has been 10 years.
  • 39% of sellers traded up to a larger home and 33% purchased a smaller home.
  • 89% of home sellers worked with a real estate agent to sell their home, 7% sold via FSBO, and less than 1% sold via iBuyer.
  • For recently sold homes, the final sales price was a median of 100% of the final listing price, maintaining last year’s highest recorded since 2002.
  • Recently sold homes were on the market for a median of two weeks, unchanged from last year.
  • 92% of sellers were at least somewhat satisfied with the selling process.
Couple with agent at table in home with laptop

Home Selling and Real Estate Professionals

  • 65% of sellers found their agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor, or relative or used an agent they had worked with before to buy or sell a home.
  • 81% of recent sellers contacted only one agent before finding the right agent they worked with to sell their home.
  • 46% of sellers used the same agent to purchase a home as to sell their home. This share rises to 84% for sellers who purchased a new home within 10 miles.
  • 75% of sellers reported that they provided the agent’s compensation.
  • The typical seller has recommended their agent once since selling their home. 20% of sellers recommended their agent four or more times since selling their home.
  • 87% said that they would definitely (73%) or probably (14%) recommend their agent for future services.
Woman holding folder and shaking hands

For-Sale-by-Owner (FSBO) Sellers

  • 7% of recent home sales were FSBO sales this year. This is an all-time low and matches the share seen in 2021.
  • The majority of FSBO sellers, 57%, knew the buyer of the home.
  • Within rural areas 14% sold via FSBO compared to 3% of sellers in urban areas.
  • FSBOs typically sell for less than the selling price of other homes; FSBO homes sold at a median of $310,000 last year, significantly lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at $405,000.
Older couple at a table in their home with laptop and papers

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