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The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD).

Current and former military are a huge demographic segment in the U.S.

According to the most recent Demographics Report (2015) from Military OneSource, prepared for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), “across the active duty and selected reserve population, there are 2,120,505 military personnel and 2,783,141 [additional] family members, including spouses, children, and adult dependents.” That’s a total of just under 5 million individuals. Over half are married and 41 percent have children.

Of these, 87.5 percent (roughly 4.4 million) are stationed or reside in the U.S. The ten states with the highest populations of active military personnel include (in order): California, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Washington, Hawaii, South Carolina, and Colorado. Military families move every two to three years; 10 moves over a 20-year career are not unusual.

Add the 21.3 million veterans in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and you get a total of 25.7 million military-related individuals living in the United States. The U.S. population for 2015 was 321 million. So, at a national level, former and current military comprise 8 percent of the general public. That’s approximately one out of every 12 people, and possibly more depending on where you live.

A quarter of the country’s veterans live in rural areas. Generally-speaking, they prefer smaller metro areas near military bases over larger cities. Veterans are homeowners at a much higher rate than the general public, and this is borne out by the research done by NAR’s Research & Statistics division in its annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

According to NAR’s Economist’s Outlook Blog, the percentage of recent homebuyers who were military or veterans for 2015 and 2016 was 21 percent and 20 percent, respectively. So, what that means is that the military and veterans are purchasing homes at a rate that is twice that of their proportion within the general population. That’s huge!

Here are some other interesting related findings that emerged from NAR’s 2015 and 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers:

  • On average, active-duty service member buyers were 35 years old, and veteran buyers were 59 years old.
  • When searching for their home, 87 percent of active-duty service members and 90 percent of veteran homebuyers bought their home through a real estate agent or broker.
  • The median price of a home they purchased was $223,000, which is consistent with all buyers.
  • Forty-one percent of this group used virtual tours to help them purchase their home, more than any other demographic group.

For even more information about active-duty service members and veteran homebuyers view this Veteran’s Day infographic, and highlights from the 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

To ensure real estate practitioner success in any geographic area, an awareness of the military market and an understanding of how to meet their needs cannot be understated. Learning how to serve the military market starts with understanding their needs, wants and concerns, and learning about the processes and procedures that they face.

For more education about serving the military market, check out this month’s featured online course at the Center for REALTOR® Development, the Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Certification course, which is the educational requirement for NAR’s Military Relocation Professional (MRP) certification.

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