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Home buyers expect to live in a house longer, unwilling to compromise on purchase – report

How many years does a buyer plan to stay?

Although reality doesn’t always match the expectations of any buyer, according to the 2011 National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers which surveyed 5,708 home buyers and sellers this summer, home buyers expect to stay in their home longer – they’re making a long term investment.

Although 41 percent of recent buyers are unsure of how long they expect to live in their home, the typical buyer estimated they would live in their home for 15 years, up from an expected 10 years cited in last year’s survey. This increase is likely because of  the demographic makeup and buying habits of home buyers having changed dramatically in the last year which revealed fewer first time buyers and more stable, mature, older, married buyers made up a larger portion of the buyer pool.

First time buyers estimated they would live in their house for 10 years. Young buyers (aged 18 to 24) estimated they would live in their home for five years and buyers aged 45 to 64 expected 20 years in their home, the shortest and longest expectations, respectively.

Age of homes purchased

The NAR reported that first time buyers that comprised of half of all buyers in 2010 now only comprise of a third which we suspect is why the age of homes purchased shifted. The typical home purchased this year was built in 1993 but varied by region with Southern homes being the newest (and largest), typically built in 1999. Homes in the Northeast were predictably the oldest as it is the oldest region in our nation; homes purchased this year were typically built in 1973. Homes in the West were typically built in 1991and in the Midwest in 1986.

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What buyers compromised on when purchasing

Although a third of buyers said they made no compromises with their recent home purchase, 18 percent said they compromised on the price, 16 percent compromised on the condition, and unmarried couples along with first time buyers were the most likely to make compromises when purchasing a home, according to NAR.

The takeaway

Buyers are looking to stay in their home longer, and are not making compromises when they purchase. The average home age varies by region, and the report findings mean “Realtor for life” is more important than ever as expectations to stay put are considerably longer, and it is important to note that buyers aren’t looking to compromise, but a few may be willing to budge on price or condition.

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