A survey of recent buyers and sellers conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that first-time purchasers are becoming more important to the real estate market now.
First-time buyers made 47 percent of all home purchases in 2009, says NAR. As recently as 2006 they made up just 36 percent of all U.S. buyers.
Several factors are behind this change. Low rates and great home prices are making housing more affordable. Government tax breaks for first-time buyers also are encouraging renters to make a move soon.
Most of all, it shows that a new generation of owners understands the importance of having your own home. A typical first-time buyer is 30 years old, according to NAR, and almost half are married.
Repeat buyers on average are 48 years old, and almost 70 percent are married, adds NAR. A typical buyer moves twelve miles from his previous residence.
Recently-purchased homes tended to be 18 years old, and 1,800 square feet in size. Most were single-family houses built in the suburbs.
Buyers on average expect to stay in their houses for a decade. But purchasers aged 18 to 24 see themselves moving in seven years, while owners age 45 or older plan to stay put for 15 years.
Real estate agents and the Internet were the main information sources used by home purchasers. Typically they spent twelve weeks looking at properties before signing a contract.
More than 85 percent of recent buyers say that owning a home is a good financial investment, adds NAR. Most agree that real estate is a better investment than stocks are.
Typically sellers had lived in their house for seven years, according to NAR. Most commonly they were moving because of a new job, or they needed a larger home.
Sellers who had lived in their homes longer had more equity in them. An average seller’s equity was 27 percent of the property’s sales price.