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Field Guide to Quick Real Estate Statistics

(Updated July 2014)

Looking for quick statistics for your sales meeting or a customer brochure? Need a quick fact to make your point? Information Central has compiled some of the most requested statistics for quick and easy access. Find the information that you need, as well as its source, at a glance. (K. Janisch, Information Specialist)


Overview of the Real Estate Market

  • The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) estimates that there are about 2 million active real estate licensees in the United States.
  • According to the 2007 Economic Census, there are 109,472 real estate brokerage firms operating in the United States.
  • Preliminary results from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) show that there were 5.6 million commercial buildings in the United States in 2012, comprising 87.4 billion square feet of floorspace.
  • There are approximately 115 million occupied housing units in the United States, according to the 2011 American Housing Survey. The typical owner-occupied home was built in 1976; the typical renter-occupied home was built in 1972. The typical home size is 1,800 square feet, built on a 0.26 acre lot.  The typical home owner is 54 years old, and has lived in the current home for 11 years.
  • In 2010, primary residences accounted for 29.5% of total family assets, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.
  • 5,090,000 existing homes were sold in 2013, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®.  429,000 newly constructed homes were sold in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

NAR Membership Statistics

Members to date: 1,063,950 as of June 30, 2014

Number of local associations: 1,365 as of Dec. 31, 2013

Source: Monthly Membership Report and NAR Membership Statistics, 1908-present


REALTOR® Demographics

  • 57% percent of REALTORS® are licensed as sales agents, and 78% of members specialize in residential brokerage.
  • 57% of all REALTORS® are female, and the median age of all REALTORS® is 56.
  • Real estate experience of all REALTORS® (median): 12 years
  • Median tenure at present firm (all REALTORS®): 6 years
  • Most REALTORS® worked 40 hours per week in 2013.
  • The median gross income of REALTORS® was $47,700 in 2013, up from $43,500 in 2012.
  • Formal education of REALTORS®:
    • Some college: 31%
    • Bachelor's degree: 30%
    • Graduate degree and above: 12%
    • Associate degree: 11%
    • Some graduate school: 8%
    • High school graduate: 7%
  • REALTOR® affiliation with firms:
    • Independent contractor: 82%
    • Employee: 6%
    • Other: 13%

Source:  2014 National Association of REALTORS® Member Profile


Statistics on REALTORS® and Technology

  • 27% of agents and 21% of brokers spent between $501 - $2,000 on technology in the last 12 months.
  • The top three tools that respondents plan on purchasing or replacing in the next year are: iPad (16%); Smartphone (15%); and digital camera (12%).
  • The most frequently used operating system is Windows 7 (38%).
  • The most popular smartphones are iPhone (52%), Android OS (45%), Blackberry (3%).
  • 91% of REALTORS® use social media to some extent.
  • The top places where REALTORS® place their listings are realtor.com®, Zillow and Trulia.

Source: 2013-2014 REALTOR® Technology Survey


Home Buyer Statistics

  • First-Time vs. Repeat Buyers:
    • First-time buyers: 38%
    • Median age of first-time buyers: 31
    • Median age of repeat buyers: 52
    • Median household income of first-time buyers: $64,400
    • Median household income of repeat buyers: $96,000
  • The typical home purchased in 2013 was 1,900 square feet in size, was built in 1992, and had three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
  • Among those who financed their home purchase, buyers typically financed 90% of the home price.
  • 88% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker—a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001.
  • Buyers who definitely would use same agent again: 73%
  • Information sources used in home search:
    • Real estate agent: 89%
    • Yard sign: 51%
    • Mobile of tablet website or application: 45%
    • Open house: 45%
    • Mobile or tablet search engine: 42%
    • Print newspaper advertisement: 23%

Source: 2013 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

  • 78% of home buyers surveyed in NAR’s 2013 Community Preference Survey responded that neighborhood quality is more important than the size of the home.  57% would forego a home with a larger yard in favor of a shorter commute.
  • NAR’s 2013 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences found that the feature that had the highest dollar value buyers were willing to pay more for was a waterfront property.  53% of home buyers undertook a home improvement project within 3 months of buying, typically spending $4,550 in improvement projects.

Home Seller Statistics

  • The typical home seller in 2013 was 53 years of age, had a median household income of $97,500, and lived in their home for 9 years.
  • 88% of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home.
  • Recent sellers typically sold their homes for 97% of the listing price, and 47% reported reducing the asking price at least once. 
  • The typical home sold was on the market for 5 weeks.
  • 39% of sellers who used a real estate agent found their agents through a referral by friends or family, and 25% used the agent they previously worked with to buy or sell a home.
  • Sellers who definitely would use same agent again: 65%

Source: 2013 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers


For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Statistics

  • FSBOs accounted for 9% of home sales in 2013. The typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 for agent-assisted home sales.
  • FSBO methods used to market home:
    • Yard sign: 36%
    • Friends, relatives, or neighbors: 28%
    • Online classified advertisements: 16%
    • Open house: 14%
    • For-sale-by-owner websites: 13%
    • Social networking websites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.): 7%
    • Multiple Listing Service (MLS) website: 7%
    • Print newspaper advertisement: 7%
    • Direct mail (flyers, postcards, etc.): 1%
    • Video: 1%
    • Other: 2%
    • None: Did not actively market home: 32%
  • Most difficult tasks for FSBO sellers:
    • Understanding and performing paperwork: 18%
    • Getting the right price: 13%
    • Preparing/fixing up home for sale: 12%
    • Helping buyer obtain financing: 3%
    • Attracting potential buyers: 3%
    • Selling within the planned length of time: 7%
    • Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 6%

Source: 2013 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers


Other Recommended Sources for Data on Real Estate:

The Economists’ Outlook blog provides insight into NAR Research’s reports and analyzes how various economic indicators effect the real estate market. 

NAR’s State-by-State Economic Impact of Real Estate Activity examines real estate markets in each state and analyzes their contribution to the economy.

The Research & Statistics section of REALTOR.org includes links to recent surveys and reports available from NAR.

U.S. Housing Market Conditions is published quarterly by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, providing numerous housing market statistics from the federal government and other organizations.

The State of the Nation’s Housing, from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, is an annual review of housing markets in the U.S., including data on demographic trends and economic conditions.

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