35 years of home buying changes

home buying changes
Years of home buying changes? (infographic from keepingcurrentmatters.com)

This week’s release of the National Association of Realtors® Annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers marks the 35th year of NAR’s analysis and description of home buyer and seller behaviors and attitudes.  You may not remember what it was like in 1981, but the country was coming out of a deep recession.  The economy was still scarred with double-digit unemployment, inflation and interest rates.  The 35th issue makes us think about home buying changes over the years.

According to the US Census Bureau (census.gov), the median price for a new home in 1981 was $68,900, while in 2010 the average new home price was $221,800.  Freddie Mac’s (freddiemac.com) data indicates that the average mortgage interest rate in 1981 was 16.63 percent, and 4.69 percent in 2010.  Surprisingly, the cost of housing (when financing 100 percent of the sale price) has only increased about 17.5 percent from 1981 to 2010!

People want their space and privacy.  According to the American Enterprise Institute (aei.org), the median square feet per person in a home in 1981 was about 550sf, while in 2014 it was 987sf.  This expansion in personal space was expressed in the home size.  The median size of a home in 1981 1,550sf, while 2010 it was 2,169sf (according to the Census Bureau).  Also consider that the typical home of 1981 only had one and a half bathrooms, and the expectation today is that a home should have at least two and a half bathrooms.

An October 18th news release from the NAR (Five Notable Nuggets from NAR’s Home Buyer and Sellers Survey’s 35-Year History; realtor.org) provided some insight into how the housing market has changed through the years.  One noticeable factor is the reduced number of first time home buyers entering the market due to underemployment, student debt, lack of down payment, or delaying family formation.  Last year’s percentage of first time home buyers dropped the lowest rate since 1987; and “according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the homeownership rate for 18-35 year-olds is currently at 34.1 percent, the lowest level in records dating back to 1994.”

It’s becoming apparent that real estate agents are not being replaced by the internet.  Although a majority of home buyers use the internet to assist them with the home buying process, the NAR reported that 90 percent of home buyers and sellers surveyed for this year’s profile worked with a real estate agent.  As a result, for-sale-by-owner transactions were at the lowest level ever (FSBO transactions peaked during 2003-2004).

The home buying process now takes longer than it used to.  Putting aside recent changes to the mortgage process, the 2016 Home Buyer and Seller Profile brings attention to the amount of time a home buyer needs to find a home.  According to the NAR, the average time to find a home was relatively unchanged from the 1980’s to about 2007; which about seven to eight weeks.  The duration of the home search peaked at twelve weeks from 2009 to 2013.  However, since then the average time needed to find a home is about ten weeks.  The increased search time is due to a number of factors.  Brisk sales combined with periods of low inventory has not provided home buyers with much of a choice from which to select.  Not to mention an unprecedented amount of available information that has created a savvy home buyer.

Copyright © Dan Krell

If you like this post, do not copy; instead please:
reference the article,
like it at facebook
or re-tweet.

Protected by Copyscape Web Plagiarism Detector
Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Your real estate agent’s experience is more important than you know

by Dan Krell © 2013

Why your real estate agent’s experience is more important than you think:

Real Estate AgentsThe National Association of Realtors (realtor.org) publishes an annual profile of home buyers and sellers that includes data and descriptions about how consumers go about choosing a real estate agent.  There are obviously many factors that are involved in the choice, but it is striking that an agent’s experience is not a major reason for their hire; it seems as if most buyers and sellers hire an agent who was referred by someone the consumer knew, and that many buyers and sellers did not talk to more than one agent.

Even though experience is not heavily weighted in agent choice, it may be one intangible that should be considered when you choose your real estate agent.  A recent research study by Bennie Waller and Ali Jubran (“The Impact of Agent Experience on the Real Estate Transaction.” Journal of Housing Research 21, no. 1 (2012): 67-82) highlights the intuitive notion that an experienced agent can yield a better result than an inexperienced agent.

They concluded that hiring a “veteran” agent will have a positive effect on your home sale.  The data indicates that “rookie” agents, those who have had their real estate license two years or less, sell homes for less, take longer to sell homes, and are less efficient during the process.  Data collected from their sample indicated that rookie agents sold homes for about 10% less than experienced agents, which according to their sample data yielded an average net difference of $18,000 (the average list price was $201,297).  Homes listed by “veteran” agents sell about 32% faster than inexperienced agents.  And, experienced agents are more likely to expedite the transaction to completion.

One possible explanation provided by the researchers is that the experienced agents are more likely to list higher quality property that typically sells faster and for more money.  Although they concede that they cannot substantiate this rationalization by this study, they suggest that veteran agents are more successful in obtaining luxury real estate and new home listings.

Real Estate AgentA more likely reason for differences between rookie and veteran agents is the mindset brought forward to the business of real estate.  The investigators discuss how those who consider selling real estate their career are more successful and have better outcomes for their clients than those who do not.  They also suggest that those who consider themselves as “part-time” agents are less likely to achieve as high of a result in their transaction as the full time counterpart; they contend that successful veteran agents are dedicated and devoted to their career.

Other possible reasons for their conclusions (but not discussed in the study) are that veteran real estate agents are more acquainted with the nuances of the housing market and have an increased ability to engage the parties in the transaction.  Full time agents are invested in being aware of listing and sale activity in their respective markets, and network with other agents to compare notes.  Additionally, experienced agents may have developed the ability to easily connect with home buyers and sellers; as well as have greater capacity to understand the specific needs of buyers and sellers – thus facilitating a smoother and successful transaction.

The business of real estate is increasingly complex and difficult.  Rapidly changing demands on home buyers and sellers can be challenging and frustrating for those in the market.  Your agent’s experience, both general and specialized, could make the difference in your success.

More news and articles on “the Blog”
Protected by Copyscape Web Plagiarism Detector
This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published the week of April 8, 2013. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2013 Dan Krell.