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Survey Uncovers Patterns and Trends Among Homebuyers

The ""National Association of Realtors"":http://www.realtor.org/ recently released the results of a national survey conducted in July 2013 among homebuyers who had made their purchase within the previous year. The data collected from 8,767 respondents brings fresh insights into all phases of the homebuying process and helps recognize emerging trends.

The study was conducted to help real estate professionals understand the needs and expectations of their clients. What did the study uncover?

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The first step in the process for 42 percent of buyers was searching online for properties. Use of the Internet to search for homes rose slightly to 92 percent.

Eighty-eight percent of buyers purchased their home through an agent or broker--a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001. Meanwhile, 42 percent of buyers found their agent through a referral from a friend or family member, and 12 percent used an agent they had worked with before.

While the search time for buyers stayed the same as in previous years, the selling time for sellers dropped substantially. The typical homebuyer searched for 12 [COLUMN_BREAK]

weeks and viewed 10 homes. Thirty-eight percent of recent homebuyers were first-time buyers, which is less than the historical norm of 40 percent.

The typical seller lived in their home nine years. The median tenure has increased from six years in 2007.

Recent sellers typically sold their homes for 97 percent of the listing price, and 47 percent reported reducing the price at least once.

Eighty-five percent sellers reported that their home was listed or advertised on the multiple listing (MLS) website, and 88 percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent. Nine percent sold their home without an agent--usually to avoid paying a commission; of that group, 40 percent said they knew the buyer prior to selling.

Thirteen percent of respondents had to delay selling their home because the value of their home was less than their mortgage.

The share of brand new homes sold was only 16 percent. These buyers wanted to avoid renovations, and liked customizing their home. Buyers who chose previously owned homes purchased their home for a better price and value--and for charm and character, they said.

The typical buyer was 42 years old; the typical first-time buyer was 31, and the typical repeat buyer was 52.

As for financing, 88 percent of buyers financed their recent home purchase, typically financing 90 percent of the cost.

The study also revealed that buyers continue to face tighter credit standards than in previous years. This year's report showed an elevated share of married couples with combined incomes at 66 percent--the highest share since 2001, and reduced levels of single buyers compared to last year.

About Author: Howard Goldthwaite

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