Buying a primary residence for home buyers is a financial decision but also an emotional decision that involves many lifestyle factors. For most home buyers, the purchase of a primary residence is one of the largest financial transactions they will make. Buyers purchase a home not only for the desire to own a home of their own, but also because of changes in jobs, family situations, and the need for a smaller or larger living area. This annual survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS of recent home buyers and sellers helps to gain insight into detailed information about their unique experience with this transaction. The information provided supplies understanding, from the consumer level, of the trends that are transpiring. The survey covers information on demographics, housing characteristics and the experience of consumers in the housing market. Buyers and sellers also provide valuable information on the role that real estate professionals play in home sales transactions.
The Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing, at the request of Ohio REALTORS, funded the oversampling of Ohio consumers enabling the creation of the Ohio-specific reports.
Data is collected from a nationally representative sample of recent home buyers who purchased a primary residence in the 12-month period between July and June. Data is also representative of the geographic distribution of home sales. Consumer names are obtained from Experian, a firm that maintains an extensive database of recent home buyers derived from county records.
National Report Highlights
In 2017, the share of first-time home buyers was 34 percent, a decrease from 35 percent last year. This figure gravitates back towards the historical norm at 40 percent of the market. The median household income increased again this year, likely due to a nationwide increase in home prices caused by a lack of housing inventory. Married and unmarried couples have double the buying power of single home buyers in the market and may be better able to meet the price increases of this housing market. Repeat buyers are also returning to the market.
Tightened inventory is affecting the home search process of buyers. Due to suppressed inventory levels in many areas of the country, buyers are typically purchasing more expensive homes as prices increase. The number of weeks a buyer is searching for a home remained at 10 weeks.
Buyers continue to report the most difficult task for them in the home buying process is just finding the right home to purchase.
Increased prices are also impacting sellers. Tenure in the home has returned to a peak of 10 years again this year. Historically, tenure in the home has been six to seven years. Sellers may now have the equity and buyer demand to sell their home after stalling or delaying their home sale.
Buyers need the help of a real estate professional to help them find the right home for them, negotiate terms of sale, and help with price negotiations. Sellers, as well, turn to professionals to help market their home to potential buyers, sell within a specific timeframe, and price their home competitively. For-sale-by-owner sales have dropped to the lowest level recorded in this data set at eight percent of sales again this year, while the use of the agent to sell the home stays at historic highs. Likewise, the buyer use of the agent is at historic highs as the number of buyers purchasing directly from a previous owner or through a builder falls.
This report provides real estate professionals with insights into the needs and expectations of their clients. What do consumers want when choosing a real estate professional? How do home buyers begin the process of searching for a home? Why do some sellers choose to forego the assistance of an agent? The answers to these questions, along with other findings in this report, will help real estate professionals better understand the housing market and also provide the information necessary to address the needs of America’s real estate consumers.