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If you own or manage a real estate brokerage, you already know that one of your most important jobs is understanding where your business comes from—the buyers and sellers who use real estate professionals to assist them in a property purchase or sale. Insights into buyers’ and sellers’ current and evolving preferences can be extremely powerful in shaping your firm’s future success.

Fortunately, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has a long-standing commitment to helping members access these valuable business insights. Among the many resources it provides, the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is particularly noteworthy, especially the newest 35th anniversary edition.

Since 1981, NAR has published this benchmark report, which, thanks to a consistent and extremely reliable methodology that allows for statistically valid year-to-year comparisons, has become one of the most trusted resources on the topic. The Profile is available as a digital download at a significant discount to NAR members and can be purchased at NAR’s REALTOR® Store.

Interesting Findings
NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is the longest-running series of national housing data evaluating the demographics, preferences, motivations, plans and experiences of recent homebuyers and sellers. Results represent owner-occupants (not investor or vacation homes). Select findings include:

  • First-time homebuyers comprised 35 percent of all homebuyers, an increase over last year’s near all-time low of 32 percent, but still off the long-term historical average of 40 percent.
  • Single women represented 17 percent of total purchases, the highest level since 2011 (18 percent). In spite of having much lower income than single male buyers ($55,300 versus $69,600), female buyers comprised over double the amount of men (7 percent).
  • The home search process has gotten longer over time, typically taking 10 weeks, compared to seven weeks in 1987.
  • The share of FSBO sales remained at a historically low 8 percent for the second year in a row. FSBO sales were highest in the Midwest (11 percent) and lowest in the West (3 percent, down from 6 percent last year).

Ways to Use This Report
With over 130 pages of detailed charts and analysis, NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is an exceedingly valuable tool for brokers and their agents:

  • Business Planning – Identify potential growth opportunities, in terms of types of buyers and sellers and/or housing segments.
  • Agent Development – Use this resource to help your agents gain additional insights into buyers’ and sellers’ priorities and preferences.
  • Marketing and Public Relations – Any small section of the report (and NAR’s other research resources) provides excellent data for developing client newsletters and blog posts, or for pitching stories to media representatives (opportunities to be quoted in local press).

Other Data Resources from NAR Research
Beyond the annual Profile of Buyers and Sellers, NAR provides many other data-driven resources for members, including research reports on homeownership/home features, financing and international activity in residential real estate. Additional reports are offered on commercial real estate and other topics.

NAR also publishes key housing statistics on a regular basis, including national and regional existing-home sales, a pending home sales index, a housing affordability index, and quarterly reports on metropolitan area housing affordability and median home prices.


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