2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

December 2022: The National Association of Realtors surveys home buyers and sellers every year and then compiles the data. It’s often very interesting! These stats are for owner-occupied homes (the buyer’s or seller’s primary residence) for the period July 2021 through June 2022. This data is nation-wide, not local. I’ll put some local comments in brackets.Cover: Highlights From the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Characteristics of Home Buyers

  • First-time buyers made up 26%, down from last year’s 34%. This is the lowest share of first-time buyers since the data collection began.
  • The typical first-time buyer was 36 years old this year, rising from 33 last year, while the typical repeat buyer age climbed to 59 years. Both are all-time highs.
  • 61% of recent buyers were married couples, 17% were single females, 9% were single males, and 10% were unmarried couples. This is the highest share of unmarried couples recorded.
  • Among first-time buyers, 18% of buyers were unmarried couples, and 5% were other household compositions. Both are the highest shares recorded.
  • 14% of home buyers purchased a multigenerational home, to take care of aging parents, because of children or relatives over the age of 18 moving back home, and for cost-savings.
  • 88% of buyers were White/Caucasian, 8% were Hispanic/Latino, 3% were Black/African-American, 2% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 3% identified as other. The share of White/Caucasian buyers and Hispanic/Latino buyers both grew this year, while the share of other racial and ethnic groups declined.
  • 91% of recent home buyers identified as heterosexual, 2% as gay or lesbian, 2%as bisexual, and 5% preferred not to answer.
  • 22% of recent home buyers were veterans and 1% were active-duty service members.
  • At 22%, the primary reason for purchasing a home was the desire to own a home of their own. For first-time buyers, this number jumps to 62%.


Characteristics of Homes Purchased

  • 12% of buyers purchased a new home, and 88% of buyers purchased a previously-owned home. [Kalia’s note: There are very few new build homes on the Central Coast, so almost all homes here are “previously owned.”]
  • Most recent buyers who purchased new homes were looking to avoid renovations and problems with plumbing or electricity at 41%.  [Kalia’s note: Fix those problems before listing for a faster sale!]
  • Detached single-family homes continued to be the most common home type for recent buyers at 79%, followed by mobile or manufactured houses at 8%.
  • Senior-related housing held steady this year at 7% (for buyers over the age of 60), with 17% of buyers typically purchasing condos and 8% purchasing a townhouse or row house.
  • The median distance between the home that recent buyers purchased and the home they moved from was 50 miles. This is a significant increase in distance moved, as the distance between 2018 and 2021 was a median of 15 miles.
  • For buyers, 49% cited quality of the neighborhood as the most importantfactor determining the location. Convenience to friends and familyand overall affordability of homes were both cited at 37%.
  • Buyers typically purchased their homes for 100% of the asking price, with 28%purchasing for more than asking price. [Last year this was 100% as well, with 29% paying more than asking price.]
  • The typical home that was recently purchased was 1,800 square feet, had three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and was built in 1986.
  • Overall, buyers expected to live in their homes for a median of 15 years, while 28% said that they were never moving.
Young couple in living room with moving boxes and couch in the background


The Home Search Process

  • For 47% of recent buyers, the first step that they took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale, while 18% of buyers first contacted a real estate agent.
  • 86% of recent buyers found their real estate agent to be a very or somewhat useful information source.
  • Buyers typically searched for 10 weeks and looked at a median of five homes, and viewed four homes only online. The number of weeks searching for a home grew from eight weeks seen in the 2020 and 2021 reports.
  • Nearly all buyers used online tools in the search process at 96%.
  • When asked where their internet searches were conducted, they typically conducted 60% of their search on a mobile device(s), and a 34% on a desktop/laptop.
  • 91% of recent buyers were at least somewhat satisfied with their recent home buying process.
Child hugging woman sitting at a desk with a laptop

Home Buying and Real Estate Professionals

  • 86% of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, and 10% purchased directly through the previous owner.
  • Having an agent to help them find the right home was what buyers wanted most when choosing an agent at 49%.
  • 38% of buyers used an agent that was referred to them by a friend, neighbor, or relative, 12% used an agent that they had worked with in the past to buy or sell a home, and 10% found their agent when inquiring about a specific property found online.
  • 67% of buyers interviewed only one real estate agent during their home search.
  • 89% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others.
Parents giving their children piggyback rides in the kitchen


Financing the Home Purchase

  • 78% of recent buyers financed their home purchase, down from 87% in the 2021 report.
  • The typical downpayment for first-time buyers was 6%, while the typical downpayment for repeat buyers was 17%.
  • For 47% of buyers, the source of the downpayment came from their savings. 38% of repeat buyers cited using the proceeds from the sale of a primary residence, while 22% of first-time buyers used a gift or loan from friends or family for the downpayment.
  • For first-time home buyers, 26% said saving for a downpayment was the most difficult step in the process.
  • The majority of first-time buyers did make financial sacrifices to purchase a home. For those who did, the most common sacrifices buyers reported were cutting spending on luxury goods, entertainment, and clothes.
  • Buyers continue to see purchasing a home as a good financial investment. 88% reported they view a home purchase as a good investment.


Home Sellers and Their Selling Experience

  • The typical home seller was 60 years old, an increase from 56 last year.
  • For all sellers, the most commonly cited reason for selling their home was the desire to move closer to friends and family (21%), moving due to retirement(11%), or the neighborhood has become less desirable (11%).
  • Sellers typically lived in their home for 10 years before selling. This is an increase from eight years in last year’s report, but reverts back to the same tenure seen in 2019 and 2020.
  • 41% of sellers traded up to a larger home and 32% purchased the same sizehome.
  • 86% of home sellers worked with a real estate agent to sell their home, 10%sold via FSBO, and less than 1% sold via iBuyer.
  • For recently sold homes, the final sales price was a median of 100% of the final listing price, the highest recorded since 2002.
  • Recently sold homes were on the market for a median of two weeks, an increase from one week last year.
  • Only 20% of sellers offered incentives to attract buyers, a drop from 26% of all sellers last year.
  • 91% of sellers were at least somewhat satisfied with the selling process.
Older woman wearing denim, sitting on an orange couch and smiling


Home Selling and Real Estate Professionals


  • 63% of sellers found their agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor, or relative or used an agent they had worked with before to buy or sell a home.
  • 80% of recent sellers contacted only one agent before finding the right agent they worked with to sell their home.
  • 39% of sellers used the same agent to purchase a home, as sell their home. A share which rises to 85% for sellers who purchased a new home within 10 miles.
  • 86% of sellers listed their homes on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the number one source for sellers to list their home.
  • 74% of sellers reported that they provided the agent’s compensation.
  • The typical seller has recommended their agent once since selling their home. 27% of sellers recommended their agent four or more times since selling their home.
  • 85% said that they would definitely (73%) or probably (12%) recommend their agent for future services.
Young couple relaxing on a couch in their home

About NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

In July 2022, NAR mailed a 129-question survey using a random sample weighted to be representative of sales on a geographic basis to 153,045 recent home buyers. The recent home buyers had to have purchased a primary residence home between July 2021 and June 2022. Respondents had the option to fill out the survey via hard copy or online. The online survey was available in English and Spanish. A total of 4,854 responses were received from primary residence buyers. After accounting for undeliverable questionnaires, the survey had an adjusted response rate of 3.2%. The sample at the 95% confidence level has a confidence interval of plus-or-minus 1.41%.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1The 2022 edition of NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers continues the longest-running series of national housing data evaluating the demographics, preferences and experiences of recent buyers and sellers. Results are representative of owner-occupants and do not include investors or vacation homes.

Kalia Rork

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