Home buyer behavior in 2011
The 2011 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers surveyed 5,708 home buyers and sellers, learning that the demographics of home buyers and types of homes being sold has shifted drastically this year, mostly due to job instability and insecurity as well as tightened lending.
Now, more buyers are married, older and have higher incomes and there is a striking lack of diversity in the home buyer pool with 85 percent of American buyers identifying themselves as Caucasian, and almost all were born in America and primarily speak English.
Why buyers purchase real estate now – life changes
In 2011, more people owned a home immediately prior to making a purchase, up dramatically from the year prior, likely due to tight lending. But why did people set out to purchase in the first place?
The NAR reports that the top reason consumers purchased a home was because they desired to be homeowners, a sentiment that one in four cited as the top reason, down from 2010. Younger buyers wanted to own a home of their own and older buyers were going through changes that required an upgrade, downgrade or relocation.
For repeat buyers, the top reason to buy was life changes ranging from job relocation, a change in family situation (divorce, new baby), or a desire to be closer to family or friends. What led to buyers’ timing? NAR reports that the top reason for the timing of their home purchase “remains that it was just the right time to buy and the buyer felt ready to buy a home.”
Second reason – affordability
Affordability is the second most common reason cited for buyers to purchase a home, but fewer buyers (both repeat and first time) cited affordability this year than in past years. Younger buyers emphasized affordability as the reason for the timing of their purchase while older buyers were more likely to buy because they “had to make the purchase when they did.”
The American dream isn’t dead, consumers still cite a desire to own a home as a top reason to buy with affordability close behind. Most people purchased a home because of life changes like a new baby, relocated job or empty nest, and because it was “just the right time to buy.”