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Home Buyers and Sellers Survey Shows Lingering Impact of Tight Credit

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While sellers had been in their previous home for a median of nine years, first-time buyers plan to stay for 10 years and repeat buyers plan to hold their property for 15 years.

The biggest factors influencing neighborhood choice were quality of the neighborhood, cited by 63 percent of buyers; convenience to jobs, 48 percent; overall affordability of homes, 40 percent; and convenience to family and friends, 38 percent. Other factors with relatively high responses included quality of the school district, 29 percent; neighborhood design, 28 percent; convenience to shopping, 26 percent; convenience to schools, 22 percent; and convenience to entertainment or leisure activities, 20 percent.

Commuting costs remain a significant factor, with 73 percent of buyers saying transportation costs were important in the purchase decision process. “Green” features also played a role, with 85 percent saying heating and cooling costs were important, and 68 percent wanting energy efficient appliances.

Eighty percent of respondents purchased a detached single-family home, 7 percent a condo, 7 percent a townhouse or rowhouse, and 6 percent some other kind of housing. The typical home had three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Fifty-three percent of recent purchases were in a suburb or subdivision, 18 percent in a small town, 16 percent were in an urban area, 11 percent in a rural area and 3 percent in a resort or recreation area. The median distance from the previous residence was 12 miles.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents used real estate agents and brokers to purchase a home, 7 percent purchased directly from a builder and 5 percent directly from the previous owner; 61 percent of buyers working with real estate professionals had a buyer representative arrangement.

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