Real Estate | National Association of Realtors Reveals New Insights Into Today’s Home Buyers & Sellers


The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® just released their 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. The results of this year’s survey comprise NAR’s 35th anniversary edition, providing the latest insight into those who have most recently bought or sold homes.

Among many notable trends, the 2016 report reveals that the number of both first-time buyers and single women purchasing homes is increasing amidst the quickening pace of home sales.

First-time Home Buyer Sales Increasing

After slipping for three straight years, the share of sales to first-time home buyers  in the 2016 survey ticked up to 35%, which is the highest since 2013 (38%) and a revival from the near 30-year low of 32% in 2015. In the 35-year history of NAR’s survey, the long-term average of first-time buyer transactions is 40%. (Source)

Lawrence  Yun, NAR chief economist, says more new homeowners were able to break through what continues to be a laborious market for many trying to enter. “Young adults are settling down and deciding to buy a home after what was likely a turbulent beginning to their adult life and career following the Great Recession,” he said. “Demand increased over the past year because of a robust job market for those with a college degree and renter fatigue at a time when homeowners continue to see their equity rise. These factors were why more first-time buyers (67%) said a desire to own a home of their own was the primary reason for their purchase (64% in 2015; 53% in 2014).”

Single Females Home Sales Increasing

As in year’s past, married couples once again made up the largest share of buyers (66%) and had the highest income ($99,200). However, the survey revealed that single women made up more of the buyer pie than in recent years (based on household composition). After falling to 15% of buyers a year ago, which tied the lowest share since 2002, single females represented 17% of total purchases (highest since 2011 at 18%).

“Despite having a much lower income ($55,300) than single male buyers ($69,600), female buyers made up over double the amount of men (7%),” Yun says. “Single women for years have indicated a strong desire to own a home of their own, as well as an inclination to live closer to friends and family. With job growth holding steady and credit conditions becoming somewhat less stringent than in past years, the willingness and opportunity to buy is becoming more feasible for many single women.”

More highlights from the 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers:

  • At 31%, the primary reason for purchasing a home was the desire to own a home of their own.
  • First-time buyers made up 35% of all home buyers, an increase over last year’s near all-time low of 32%.
  • 88% of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker.
  • 88% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others.
  • Only 8% of recent home sales were FSBO sales again this year. For the second year, this is the lowest share recorded since this report started in 1981.

A Closer Look at Today’s Home Buyers:

  • The typical buyer in 2016 was 44-years-old for the 3rd straight year in a row. In 1981 the typical buyer was between the ages of 25-34.
  • 66% of recent buyers were married couples, 17% were single females, 7% were single males and 8% were unmarried couples.
  • Buyers of new homes made up 14% and buyers of previously owned homes made up 86%.
  • Detached single-family homes continue to be the most common type for recent buyers at 83%.
  • 88% of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker.

A Closer Look at Today’s Home Sellers:

  • The typical home seller was 54 years old in 2016.
  • Sellers typically lived in their home for 10 years before selling, an increase from 9 years in last year’s report.
  • Recently sold homes were on the market for a median of 4 weeks.
  • Only 8% of recent home sales were FSBO sales again this year. For the second year, this is the lowest share recorded since this report started in 1981.
  • 89% of home sellers worked with a real estate agent to sell their home.

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® 2016 survey also found that for-sale-by-owner transactions remained at an all-time low of 8% for the second straight year. And nearly 90% of all respondents worked with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home.

NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers dates back to 1981 and is the longest-running series of national housing data evaluating the demographics, preferences, motivations, plans and experiences of recent home buyers and sellers.

CLICK HERE for more highlights from the National Association of Realtor’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Click here to buy the full report. And to learn more about the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, visit Realtor.org.


Ready to buy or sell a home in the Barrington area? My name is Liz Luby and I am both the founder of 365Barrington.com and a local real estate agent/broker associate with @Properties in Barrington, Illinois.

As a licensed Realtor since 2004, I work with home buyers and sellers in and beyond the Barrington area as part of The Luby Group, a long-time family team of Realtors serving the local community.

Contact me anytime at 847-691-3150 or Liz@365Barrington.com for area specific market updates or a list of homes for sale that match your criteria. As Barrington Residents and Realtors, we are highly experienced and uniquely equipped to help you reach your real estate goals in any market.


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