National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

09, April, 2024

If you’ve had any involvement, you know real estate has been a wild ride in the last few years. One way to make sense of it is through the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) annual report that breaks down data about buyers and sellers. They spot trends and highlight interesting facts and figures. It’s a goldmine of information we love to explore and share.

About the Report

The 2023 NAR Profile covers transactions between July 2022 and June 2023. We’re concentrating on the highlights here, but there’s a link at the end of this article if you want to know more.

2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Why focus on buyers and sellers? It’s simple. Without them, there’s no real estate business. No agents, no title offices, no builders, oh, and no mortgage companies! Let’s take a look at the people who drive this important segment of the economy.

Characteristics of Home Buyers

The dream – and realization – of homeownership is alive and well. First-time homebuyers continued to make their presence felt, increasing to 32% of all buyers, up from 26% the year before. True, that’s well below the all-time high of 50% in 2010, but it’s trending upward. A full 60% of those buyers said their primary reason for buying was to own a home of their own.

Repeat buyers, on the other hand, were more interested in being closer to family/friends. One indication of the challenges faced by first-time buyers was their median age of 35. While this is slightly lower than last year, it’s higher than historic norms of 28-33.

Characteristics of Homes Purchased

What kind of home did buyers buy? The detached single family home led the way at a whopping 79% of homes purchased. Townhouses/rowhouses came in a very distant second at 8%. And those first-time buyers? Three quarters of them bought single family homes.

Our aging population had an impact, too. Senior-related housing and active adult communities attracted more buyers in the over 60 population, jumping to 19% from 7% the year before. Maybe they’re freeing up some inventory for first-time buyers?

The Home Search Process

Like everything in life (or so it seems), searching for a home starts on the internet. It continues there, too. 41% of all buyers started their search online, while 100% used the internet at some point in their search.

Does that mean real estate agents have become obsolete? Not at all. While agents came in second to the internet for finding the home they bought, buyers listed agents as the most used resource, and the most useful information source in their search.

Home Buying and Real Estate Professionals

Let’s consider what goes into the actual purchase. This is where real estate agents shine. Nine out of ten buyers purchased their home through an agent or broker. What they wanted, far more than anything else, was help finding the right home. Half of all purchasers said that was the most important thing an agent could offer. Help with sale terms and price negotiations came in second and third at 12% and 11%.

Home Sellers and Their Selling Experience

There’s another side to the equation, and that’s home sellers. Low inventory has worked in their favor in a couple of ways. The final sales price was a median of 100% of the final listing price, matching the previous year’s high. Homes were also on the market for a median of two weeks, also unchanged from last year. So homes sold quickly at full price.

Home Selling and Real Estate Professionals

If the internet was where buyers started their process, sellers overwhelmingly started with a real estate agent. Two thirds of all sellers found their agents through referral or were repeat clients. Qualities they looked for were a good reputation, trustworthiness, and honesty. They wanted a wide range of services, with pricing, marketing, and selling within their timeframe as top priorities. Interestingly, 81% of sellers contacted only one agent before deciding who would represent them.

For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

Despite the seller’s market, which might suggest that more sellers would go it alone, these transactions accounted for only 7% of all home sales. The biggest reasons mentioned for selling this way were that the seller knew the buyer (36%), they didn’t want to pay an agent commission (31%), or the buyer contacted them directly (20%).

National Association of Realtors® 2023 Profile of Home Buyers And Sellers

The National Association of Realtors® 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was researched and written by the National Association of Realtors® Research Group. Published annually since 1981, the Profile is based on data gathered from primary residence homebuyers who purchased their properties between July 2022 and June 2023. Seller information came from buyers who also sold a home. To learn more, visit

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