2012 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers: An Introduction

by Reno Manuele


NAR’s 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is now upon us, and its even more glorious than we had anticipated.

By Peter Ricci

Once a year, in the last gasps of the autumn season, Christmas comes early for the residential real estate markets – the National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases its yearly Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers; and yes, we get excited.

A massive and exhausting study of the homebuying and selling process, the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is a national survey of thousands of homebuyers and sellers, all of whom engaged in a real estate transaction at some point from June 2011 to June 2012. For the 2012 survey, which NAR just released the results of, more than 8,000 responses factored in to its results.

2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers: Our Series

We weren’t kidding when we said that the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was massive; indeed, it covers every aspect of the buying and selling process, including:

  • The characteristics of homebuyers and home sellers.
  • The financing of home purchases.
  • The for sale by owner (FSBO) market.
  • How homebuyers chose to search for their homes.
  • The characteristics of the homes purchased.
  • The experiences of home sellers.
  • And finally, how real estate professionals factored in for both kinds of consumers.

As you can tell, this is far more content than we can cover in one measly story, so for the next couple of weeks (at least), we’ll be profiling a different facet of the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers each day, with an emphasis on how real estate professionals can use the information to better their businesses in 2013.

Average Age of Homebuyers in 2011-2012

So, without further or due, let’s get started! The following piece of information caught our eye in the survey: the typical homebuyer was 42 years old, a decline from 2011, when the average homebuyer age was 45 years.

This is significant for two reasons – one, it suggests that more first-time homebuyers are entering the fray (and indeed, 39 percent of homebuyers were first-time buyers in the survey, which is just shy of the historic norm of 40 percent), and two, it shows that Echo Boomers, a demographic we’ve covered extensively, truly are the new frontier for real estate agents, as more and more enter the homebuying process.

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