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What the NAR report says about characteristics of home buyers and sellers

(REAL ESTATE BIG DATA) The National Association of Realtors annual report is out, and now we have the breakdown of the characteristics of this year’s home buyers.

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The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) released its most recent Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report. The annual survey conducted by NAR “allows industry professionals to gain insight into detailed buying and selling behavior.” This year’s survey contained 131 questions, and it surveyed home buyers and sellers who purchased between July 2019 to June 2020.

Here is a breakdown of some characteristics of home buyers.

Median age of home buyers

A shift in a home buyer’s age hasn’t changed much when compared to last year. For first-time home buyers, the median age is still at 33 years. Repeat buyers have remained at 55 for three straight years. The median age of home buyers stayed at 47 in 2019 and 2020, which has been the oldest median range since NAR began collecting data in 1981.

Also, the 25 to 34 age group continues to be the largest share of home buyers. This year they accounted for 23% of all buyers, and the smallest share of home buyers came from the 18 to 24 (3%) and 75 and over age groups (5%).

Median Age of Homebuyers 1981-2020

Decrease of first-time home buyers

First-time buyers’ market shares have remained below the historical norm of 40% since 2011, and this year we saw a new decline. In 2019, first-time buyers made up 33% of all home buyers. This year that figure dropped to 31%. This is the lowest it has been since 1987 when it was at 30%.

First Time Home-Buyers

Increase in median household income

First-time buyers might have decreased, but median household income for 2019 increased. This year the median income is at $96,500 whereas last year’s median income was at $93,200.

Although income has increased for both first-time buyers and repeat buyers, there is a large gap between the two. Data shows first-time buyers’ median income is at $80,000, and repeat buyers’ median income is at $106,700. Also, married repeat buyers have the highest median income at $120,300.

Household Income of Home Buyers by Region 2019

The report shows those with higher incomes come from the West region with the Northeast region following right behind. And, this could be the reason the Northeast has the highest share of first-time home buyers with 37%. And, why the South region has the lowest at 28%.

First Time Home Buyers by Region

Who’s buying a house?

Married couples make up 62% of recent buyers, up 1% from the year before. Single female buyers make up 18%, and 9% are single male buyers. However, the shares of first-time buyers that were married decreased from 53% to 52%. For married repeat buyers, it remained at 67%. And, first-time buyers who are unmarried couples decreased to 16%.

Adult Composition of Home Buyers 1981-2020

Why are people buying houses?

Not surprisingly, the main reason first-time home buyers want to purchase a home is that they want to have a house they can call their own. According to the report, 64% of first-time home buyers said this is why they purchased a house.

  • On the other hand, repeat buyers purchased for these reasons:
  • To purchase a larger home – 13%
  • To move closer to family and friends – 13%
  • Due to a life change (childbirth, marriage, or divorce) – 9%

Primary Reason to Purchase a Home, First Time and Repeat Buyers

Home buyers are also purchasing homes because it happens to be just the right time. Of all buyers, 51% cited this as a reason. For first-time buyers, they were at 63% and repeat buyers at 45%. Also, 15% of buyers said they didn’t have another choice, and 12% bought a house because of the availability of homes for sale.

Primary Reason for Timing of Home Purchase, First Time and Repeat Buyers

Also, 12% of all buyers are still purchasing multi-generational homes like they did last year. These homes have “adult siblings, adult children over the age of 18, parents, and/or grandparents” living in the household.

  • The main reasons for purchasing this type of home are:
  • Take care of aging parents – 25%
  • Children over 18 moving back home – 19%
  • To save money – 16%
  • Spend more time with aging parents – 16%

Home Purchase was Multi-Generational Home (Will Include Adult Siblings, Adult Children, Parents, and/or Grandparents)

NAR’s report shows the 25-34 age group still maintains itself as the largest age group of home buyers. The number of first-time buyers has decreased, but this can be expected as the pandemic has turned things upside for a lot of people. However, there has been an increase in overall median income, and the data shows people still have a desire to own their own home, including buying multi-generational homes.

Veronica Garcia has a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Science in Radio/TV/Film from The University of Texas at Austin. When she’s not writing, she’s in the kitchen trying to attempt every Nailed It! dessert, or on the hunt trying to find the latest Funko Pop! to add to her collection.

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Real Estate Big Data

Median home prices hit $407K, home sales fall 3.4%

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) Home sales dip for a fourth consecutive month in May – what does this mean for the housing market going forward?

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home sales

For the fourth consecutive month, existing home sales (real estate contracts signed) fell 3.4% in May from April, and slumped 8.6% from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The average days on market fell from 17 days in April (and May 2021) to 16 days in May, and 81% of all homes listed sold in under a month.

The median home price rose 14.8% over the last year to $407,6000, the first time it has ever exceeded $400K. May marks the 123rd consecutive month of annual increases, the longest-running streak in history.

Inventory remains tight, but did rise 12.6% from April to 1.16 million by the end of May, marking a 2.6 month sales pace. Inventory is down 4.1% from May of 2021.

“Home sales have essentially returned to the levels seen in 2019 – prior to the pandemic – after two years of gangbuster performance,” said NAR Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun.

“Also, the market movements of single-family and condominium sales are nearly equal, possibly implying that the preference towards suburban living over city life that had been present over the past two years is fading with a return to pre-pandemic conditions,” Dr. Yun added.

He notes that it is expected that home sales in coming months will continue to decline in light of rising mortgage rates, yet appropriately priced homes will continue to sell quickly.

First time buyers made up 27% of sales in May, down from 28% in April. This diminishing number remains troubling, as the average hovered around 33% for years, and was at 31% in May 2021.

All-cash sales rising to 25% (up from 23% in May 2021), and individual investors or second-home buyers accounted for 16% of sales in May.

“Declining home purchases means more people are renting, and the resulting rent price escalation may spur more institutional investors to buy single-family homes and turn them into rental properties – placing additional financial strain on prospective first-time homebuyers,” said NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith.

“To counter this trend,” Rouda notes, “policymakers should consider incentivizing an inventory release to the market by temporarily lowering capital gains taxes for mom-and-pop investors to sell to first-time buyers.”

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Real Estate Big Data

NAR Chief Economist predicts housing market uncertainty

(BIG DATA) Warning bells on the housing market have been ringing for over a year. While this prediction isn’t a surprise, it’s disappointing news.

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Multitude of colorful homes representing housing market.

The housing market is booming. Many experts are concerned about another bust like we experienced in 2008, but the conditions are much different today. Homeowners aren’t extended like they were when the market crashed in 2008. National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun suggests that the housing market is still uncertain, even though he says, “housing kept the economy afloat” during the pandemic.

What is impacting the housing market? 

Yun cites record-low inventory and inflation as “curveballs” to the housing market. Many economists, including Yun, have been concerned about low inventory for many years, especially in certain markets. Even though builders are working hard to construct new residences, supply chain and labor issues are not accelerating the process.

Yun is more concerned about inflation impacting the housing market. He says,

“wages have risen by 6% from one year ago…but inflation is 8.5%.”

Rising mortgage rates have made mortgages cost $300 to $400 a month more, according to Yun. Many working families can’t afford that. Yun predicts inflation is going to be high for several months. The market will slow as the Federal Reserve raises rates.

Yun also cites the Russia-Ukraine war as another contribution to the uncertainty of the market. The war is also driving inflation, not just overseas, but in the United States. With gas prices climbing higher each week, this is impacting the housing market.

Is real estate a good investment in this market?

Last year, when Yun opened the Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum at NAR’s annual REALTOR® Conference & Expo in San Diego, he expected the “housing sector’s success to continue,” but he did suggest that 2022’s performance wouldn’t exceed 2021s.

“Rising rents will continue to place upward pressures on inflation,” he said. “Nevertheless, real estate is a great hedge against inflation.”

There’s a lot we don’t know about the future. It’s disappointing to think that the housing market may be uncertain, but real estate is still a good investment.

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Real Estate Big Data

Housing starts stagnate, market conditions are rapidly shifting

Housing starts for April stagnated, marking the second consecutive months of declines, and more renters being left out of this shifting market.

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construction home growth housing starts

Housing starts stagnated in April, down 0.2% from the prior month, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

The sentiment appears to be that although this marks the second straight month of dips, most are seeing today’s news as a positive, especially as construction of new homes was expected to fall 2.4% in April.

Further, housing starts are up 14.6% from April of last year, driven primarily by multifamily construction.

But it’s worth not getting overly excited, given that permits dipped 3.2% in April which is a forward-looking indicator, so expect starts to continue cooling in a time where we quite need the inventory.

Demand for housing inventory remains high, but the National Association of Home Builders reports today that confidence in the single-family housing market fell dramatically in May, marking the lowest level in two years.

Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors said in a statement, “The worst of the housing shortage is ending, but market equilibrium between supply and demand is still some ways off.”

He notes that as mortgage rates increase, builders “are chasing rising rents, with fewer homebuyers and more renters being forced to renew their leases,” noting that even prior to the interest rate increases, rents were rapidly rising and vacancy rates rapidly declining.

Pointing to another market shift, Dr. Yun notes that “Some degree of a return to the office is also fueling back-to-city living where high rises are concentrated.”

That’s a problem.

“Even as home sales look to trend back to pre-pandemic levels after the big surge of the past two years,” concludes Dr. Yun, “inventory will not return to pre-pandemic conditions. That means home prices will get pushed even higher in the upcoming months, albeit modestly, given the supply-demand imbalance.”

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