Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2017


An excerpt from the National Association of REALTORS®


Characteristics of Home Buyers
-First-time buyers made up 34 percent of all home buyers,
a decrease from last year’s 35 percent.
-The typical buyer was 45 years old this year, and the
median household income for 2016 rose again this year to
– Sixty-five percent of recent buyers were married couples,
18 percent were single females, seven percent were single
males, and eight percent were unmarried couples.
– Thirteen percent of home buyers purchased a multigenerational
home, to take care of aging parents, for cost
savings, and because of children over the age of 18 moving
back home.
– Eighteen percent of recent home buyers are veterans and
three percent are active-duty service members.

Characteristics of Homes Purchased
– Buyers of new homes made up 15 percent and buyers of
previously owned homes made up 85 percent.
– Detached single-family homes continue to be the most
common home type for recent buyers at 83 percent,
followed by seven percent of buyers choosing townhomes
or row houses.
– Home prices increased slightly this year to a median of
$235,000 among all buyers. Buyers typically purchased
their homes for 98 percent of the asking price.
– The typical home that was recently purchased was 1,870
square feet, had three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and
was built in 1991.

The Home Search Process
– For 42 percent of recent buyers, the first step that they
took in the home buying process was to look online
at properties for sale, while 17 percent of buyers first
contacted a real estate agent.
– Seventy-nine percent of recent buyers found their real
estate agent to be a very useful information source. Online
websites were seen as the most useful information source
at 88 percent.

Home Buying and Real Estate Professionals
-Eighty-seven percent of buyers recently purchased their
home through a real estate agent or broker, and seven
percent purchased directly from a builder or builder’s
– Having an agent to help them find the right home was
what buyers wanted most when choosing an agent at 52
– Forty-two percent of buyers used an agent that was
referred to them by a friend, neighbor, or relative and 12
percent used an agent that they had worked with in the
past to buy or sell a home.
– Eighty-nine percent of buyers would use their agent again
or recommend their agent to others.

Financing the Home Purchase
– Eighty-eight percent of recent buyers financed their home
purchase. Those who financed their home purchase
typically financed 90 percent.
– First-time buyers who financed their home typically
financed 95 percent of their home compared to repeat
buyers at 86 percent.
– Forty-three percent of buyers saved for their
downpayment for six months or less.
– Buyers continue to see purchasing a home as a good
financial investment. Eighty-three percent reported they
view a home purchase as a good investment.

Home Sellers and Their Selling Experience
– The typical home seller was 55 years old, with a median
household income of $103,300.
– For all sellers, the most commonly cited reason for selling
their home was that it was too small (16 percent), followed
by the desire to move closer to friends and family (14
percent), and a job relocation (11 percent).
– Sellers typically lived in their home for 10 years before
selling, the same as last year.
– Eighty-nine percent of home sellers worked with a real
estate agent to sell their home.
– Recently sold homes were on the market for a median of
three weeks, down from four weeks last year.
– Thirty-seven percent of all sellers offered incentives to
attract buyers.

Home Selling and Real Estate Professionals
– Sixty-four percent 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.
– Seventy-four percent of recent sellers contacted only one
agent before finding the right agent they worked with to
sell their home.
– Ninety percent of sellers listed their homes on the
Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the number one
source for sellers to list their home.
– The typical seller has recommended their agent twice
since selling their home. Thirty-three percent of sellers
recommended their agent three or more times since
selling their home.

For-Sale-by-Owner (FSBO) Sellers
– Only eight percent of recent home sales were FSBO sales
again this year. For the third year, this is the lowest share
recorded since this report started in 1981.
– FSBOs typically sell for less than the selling price of other
homes; FSBO homes sold at a median of $190,000 last
year (up from $185,000 the year prior), and significantly
lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at


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