Tight Housing Market, Shifting Demographics Make for Big Changes in Homebuyer Profiles

The National Association of Realtors survey looked at multiple facets of the home buying process from mid 2013 to mid 2014. Location was a big factor, as expected.

The National Association of Realtors survey looked at multiple facets of the home buying process from mid 2013 to mid 2014. Location was a big factor, as expected.

First-time homebuyers are being squeezed out, and you gotta move fast to buy! And people are hanging on to their houses for the longest time on record, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors.

Buyers are living in their homes for ten years, up from six years in 2008, and actually expect to live in their home for 12 years. Some of it is by choice, like hanging on to a fantastic rate after remortgaging, and some by necessity, like too much debt to move, as reported by the Dallas Morning News.

The study looked at the demographics of thousands of home purchases around the United States from July 2013 to June 2014, and its findings speak to many trends we’ve noticed in the market here at CandysDirt.

Take multigenerational homes, for example. We’ve seen more builders offering them, like almost every builder on our approved homebuilder list, from Park Cities to Preston Hollow and north. (I swear Mickey Munir at Sharif&Munir invented the jazzed-up mother-in-law suite.) Texas-based builder Darling Homes is selling multigenerational homes in Frisco’s Lawler Park and Houston area’s Lakes of Cypress Forest like hotcakes.

The survey says they’re right on trend: Since 1980, the number of multigenerational households around the country has doubled, with 13 percent of buyers purchasing one of these homes to accommodate aging parents and boomerang kids in a cost-saving way.

Recent homebuyers are also older and richer: a median age of 44 versus 39 in 2010, with an average household income of $84,500, which is up $10,000 in four years.

So what does this mean for first-time homebuyers, who made up 50 percent of the market in 2010 and tend to have lower incomes than older buyers? Their numbers are at an almost 30-year low, accounting for just 33 percent of sales. The historical norm is 40 percent among primary residence buyers.

The tune has also changed for single folks, and single women, in particular, who used to make up one-fifth of home sales. The survey finds that 65 percent of recent home sale were to married couples, a jump from 58 percent in 2010.

We’ve also noted that this fast-paced, tight market means folks need to move quickly in order snag the house they want and the survey bears that out: people were looking at fewer properties before committing to buy (10 versus 12 in previous surveys).

They’re also making use of realtors to get a strategic advantage: the survey found almost 90 percent used an agent to locate a property, a jump from 70 percent ten years ago.

Their other secret weapon? Internet searches. More than 80 percent of buyers said they use online research to find a house, a jump from 42 percent in 2003. Note: we at CandysDirt believe that figure is even higher, which is why, well, Zillow and Trulia!

Other interesting findings

  • The typical home purchased was 3-2 with 1,870 square feet, built in 1993
  • The suburbs dominate sales, representing 50 percent of sales
  • Eighty four percent of sales were of previously owned homes
  • The typical first-time buyer was 31-years-old, while the typical repeat buyer was 53.
  • Real estate agents were viewed as a “useful information source” by 98 percent of buyers, who used an agent while searching for a home
  • Only nine percent of those surveyed sold their home without the assistance of an agent
  • The median income was $68,300 among first-time buyers and $95,000 among repeat buyers




One Comment

  • I foresee us having a multigenerational home in the near future. Our next home must have the second bedroom on the ground floor to accommodate aging parents and the doors and other features in the suite will be done to accommodate their aging-in-place. We are also wanting our kids bedrooms in a separate wing if one story or upstairs with a living area that has a kitchenette as they will live with us while going to college or other post-secondary education. They’ll still have a roof over their head (much cheaper than dorms or apts) yet have some privacy.