The typical U.S. home buyer is 42 years old and married, with a median family income of $78,600. The typical home purchased is 1,900 square feet, with three bedrooms and two baths. It cost about $215,000.
How does that compare to your mental picture of today’s housing market?
Those are details gleaned from the National Association of Realtors’ latest Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. The 2012 report is based on a survey by the NAR’s research staff and covers the year that ended at midsummer.
A few tidbits buried in the report caught my eye: I was surprised that the typical buyers financed more than 90 percent of the purchase price, after all the recent news of tight credit. I thought single women might account for a larger share of the market.
Here are highlights from the report:
• Thirty-nine percent of recent buyers were first-time buyers, the report said, close to the historical norm of 40 percent.
• Last year’s typical buyer was 45, so the age has dropped a bit.
• For first-time buyers, the median income was $61,800; for repeat buyers, it was $93,100.
• The percentage of married buyers is rising. Sixty-five percent were married couples – the largest share since 2001. But the percentage of single women who buy is falling: They accounted for 16 percent, the lowest since 2001. It’s tougher to buy on a single salary than it used to be.
• Seventy-nine percent of buyers chose a detached single-family home, instead of a condo or townhouse. That’s amazingly close to the pattern in Mecklenburg County, where 78 percent of listings are single-family homes and 22 percent are condos and townhomes.
• Sixteen percent of the homes were new.
• Eighty-seven percent of buyers financed their purchase, typically financing 91 percent of the purchase price. This one surprised me.
As you might expect, the Internet looms large. Ninety percent of all buyers used the Internet during the home search – and for buyers younger than 44, that rose to 96 percent. No surprise here.
Buyers typically searched for 12 weeks and looked at 10 homes before deciding.
Only 9 percent of sellers sold their homes without any help from a real estate agent. Thirty-three percent of those who sold their own homes knew the buyers before the sale.
Sellers got about 95 percent of their listing price, but more than half reduced the price at least once and 40 percent offered incentives such as warranties and closing costs.
• The typical home sold without an agent went for $174,900; with an agent, the typical selling price was $215,000.