Get Real: A look at national real estate numbers

Last month we looked at some 2013 statistics for the Unionville-Chadds Ford area.  This month we will review national statistics. Every year the National Association of Realtors conducts an extensive survey of buyers and sellers nationwide.  The 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers came out in November and is chock full of data for sales in 2012.  Here are some of the highlights. These are national trends that we find reflected in our local Brandywine Valley market.

The typical buyer was 42-years old, married, with a household income of $83,000. That buyer spent 12 weeks looking at 10 single-family homes before making a decision. Utility costs and commuting costs were important factors in deciding which home to buy.

The typical seller sold his home at 97 percent of asking price; almost half — 47 percent — reduced the asking price at least once to adjust to the market.

The report looks at the use of real estate professionals. Eighty-eight percent of buyers and sellers used real estate agents; this figure has been increasing steadily for the last decade.  Sellers who sold their homes without the help of a real estate professional made up 9 percent of the market; of these, 40 percent already knew the buyer, who was often a relative. The typical home sold by the owner without the help of a real estate agent was $184,000; the typical home sold with the help of an agent was $230,000.

The Internet has been a boon to educating the homebuyer.  Although only 42 percent of buyers begin their home search on the Internet, a whopping 92 percent use the Internet at some point during the home-buying process.  This reflects the manner in which real estate professionals have embraced the Internet as the major advertising tool for selling homes.

The aging population has an effect on the home market. There is a trend toward homes that can accommodate more than the traditional nuclear family.  Fourteen percent of buyers said their families would include adult children moving back home and/or aging parents.  Another 14 percent of buyers over the age of 50 bought homes in active-adult or other senior-related communities.

Here in the Brandywine Valley we have been dealing with more snow that usual. The ice and loss of power have been a burden to many of us.  Although the weather has slowed down the real estate market, there are still buyers and sellers in the marketplace.  If you are thinking of buyer or selling once the warmer weather comes, now is the time to contact your Realtor and make your plans to be ready for the busy spring market.

* Beth Alois and Jim DeFrank can be reached at 610-388-3700, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Fox & Roach Realtors, Chadds Ford.

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