When it comes finding a home, location continues to be the most influential factor. According to NAR’s 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 61 percent of recent home buyers reported quality of the neighborhood as the most important consideration in their home search. The second most significant factor was also location-related, with 43 percent reporting convenience to work as a reason for choosing a particular home.
Selling a home is no easy process. There are over 20 steps involved from beginning to end, and successfully accomplishing each step requires not just expertise but also time. According to NAR’s 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, sellers are turning to real estate agents at historically high rates. In recent transactions, 88 percent of home sales were agent assisted. Only nine percent of recent sellers reported selling on their own.
According to recently released government data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, credit continues to be overly stringent. Although buyers’ incomes have increased since 2004, the loan-to income ratio has declined. For example, the median income for a buyer using conventional financing rose from $79,000 in 2007 to $90,000 in 2011, while the national median household income stayed flat at $50,000 during the same period. The indication is that more loan applicants with higher incomes were applying and/or banks’ income standards became more stringent.
After the last presidential election in 2008, foreclosure filings had increased 81 percent over the previous year and home sales were down nearly 42 percent from record highs in 2005.
Each year couples make up the largest portion of home buyers, and according to the 2012 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the percentage of these buyers has been increasing.
According to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, the steady recovery is expected to continue over the next few years, barring further tightening of mortgage credit availability or the much discussed “fiscal cliff.”