Amazing Homeownership Stats
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer on the hunt for a starter home or an established homeowner looking to sell, as participants in today’s housing market you’re likely more savvy, more engaged and more data focused than any previous generation. You know that with information come insights and opportunities.
While access to data is a positive development for all involved in homeownership, the potential downside is that too much information can sometimes overload the senses. That's especially true in the housing sector where the constant flow of statistics can be overwhelming at times. The solution? Stick to the facts that matter.
In this article, we’re going to serve up some newly available and highly informative housing stats courtesy of the National Association of Realtors(R). We’ll put industry data on who’s buying and selling into perspective, what their experience was like, how the process is playing out and how buyers financed their new home purchases, among other insights.
Let’s take a few minutes to get acquainted with the latest data!
So who are today’s homebuyers?
Homebuyers come from all walks of life and all generations—from millennials to Gen X to baby boomers and beyond. However, one demographic that’s particularly celebrated is that of first-time homebuyers. They’re the spine of the housing market, and both real estate and mortgage professionals are always looking for improved ways to unlock opportunities that assist them in their journey. For first-time buyers, 2021 was a particularly good year.
- First-time buyers made up 34% of all homebuyers, an increase from last year's 31%.
- The typical first-time buyer was 33 years old this year, while the typical repeat-buyer age rose to an all-time high of 56 years old.
- 11% of homebuyers purchased a multi-generational home, to take care of aging parents, because of children over the age of 18 moving back home, and for cost-saving.
- 14% of recent homebuyers were veterans and 3% were active-duty service members.
Taking a look at the home search process
The digital age has spurred new ways to jump start the homebuying process from the initial search for properties to researching neighborhoods to finding a loan officer or mortgage company to help with your financing options. The good news is that these online tools are improving the overall homebuyer experience.
- 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 19% of buyers ﬁrst contacted a real estate agent.
- Buyers typically searched for 8 weeks, looked at a median of 8 homes and viewed 3 of these homes only online.
- Nearly all buyers used online tools in the search process at 95%.
- 94% of recent buyers were at least somewhat satisfied with their recent home buying process.
Homebuying and real estate agents: A solid relationship
Despite the advent of digital technology, real estate agents still continue to be an important part of the homebuying and home-selling process. Many would say their marketplace IQ, ability to guide new buyers toward the home of their dreams and shepherd them through a smooth sale process remains an indispensable asset.
- 87% of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, and 7% purchased directly from a builder or builder’s agent.
- 73% of buyers interviewed only one real estate agent during their home search.
- Having an agent to help them ﬁnd the right home was what buyers wanted most when choosing an agent at 52%.
- 90% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others.
Insights on home financing
It shouldn’t come as a great surprise that most recent homebuyers are still reliant on financing to achieve their dreams of homeownership. This was especially true for first-time homebuyers. Let’s take a look.
- 87% of recent buyers ﬁnanced their home purchase.
- First-time buyers who ﬁnanced their home typically ﬁnanced 93% of their home compared to repeat buyers at 83%.
- For 61% of buyers, the source of the downpayment came from their savings. 56% of buyers cited using the proceeds from the sale of a primary residence while 28% of first-time buyers used a gift or loan from friends or family for the down payment.
Let’s not forget sellers and their experience
While the activities of homebuyers understandably soak up most of the oxygen, the trends of those other integral players in the housing market — sellers—are also worth exploring. As has been widely reported, sellers were the recipients of rapidly ascending home value over the past 12 months, which made purchases difficult to some first-time homebuyers. Overall though, given the high competition and scarcity of supply, sellers had little trouble receiving their asking price and seldom had to provide incentives to buyers.
- For all sellers, the most commonly cited reason for selling their home was the desire to move closer to friends and family (18%), that it was too small (17%), and the neighborhood had become less desirable (11%).
- 90% of home sellers worked with a real estate agent to sell their home.
- For recently sold homes, the ﬁnal sales price was a median of 100% of the ﬁnal listing price.
- Only 26% of all sellers offered incentives to attract buyers, a drop from 46% of all sellers last year.
- Regarding their interactions with real estate professionals, 82% of recent sellers contacted only one agent before ﬁnding the right agent they worked with to sell their home.
Women and homeownership
The narrative around women and homeownership is an increasingly optimistic one, with single females continuing to gain leverage in their pursuit of owning a home. Recent analysis has confirmed that condos and townhomes were their purchase of choice and that women most frequently cited proximity to friends and family as the greatest motivating factor in choosing location.
- The share of single women buyers rose slightly to 19 percent, and single males held steady at nine percent the past three years.
- Single women and single male buyers were more likely to purchase a townhouse or condo than married couples and unmarried couples
- Single women more than any other household composition cited the convenience to friends and family as an influencing factor in their neighborhood choice, at 53 percent.
A snapshot in time
Hopefully, the above statistics provide you with some solid insight into recent activity in the housing market. Of course, economic factors on the horizon have the potential to reshape market sentiment as we head into the second quarter of the year. For example: Will supply finally catch up to demand? What role will inflation play? And what about interest rates? Additionally, the pandemic may (thankfully, hopefully) be receding, but will new uncertainties take its place?
One thing hasn’t changed: The unquenchable desire for millions of Americans to purchase a home. Last year was one of the most robust housing markets in recent memory, and while the macroeconomic landscape has admittedly shifted, most housing experts expect to see a 2022 marketplace not all that different from 2021. Appetites to buy and sell remain near historically high levels.
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