The National Association of Realtors surveys homebuyers and sellers each year to uncover housing trends and monitor changes taking place in the industry. This year's report highlights a number of trends that haven't been seen in years, says local mortgage expert Shawn Kaplan.
1. In 2011, 37 percent of homebuyers were first-time buyers – which was down from 50 percent in 2010.
2. Last year, 88 percent of homebuyers used the Internet to search for a home. That number was down slightly from a high of 90 percent in 2009.
3. The typical homebuyer searched for 12 weeks and viewed 12 homes.
4. The number of buyers who purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker climbed to 89 percent – a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001.
5. Nearly 1 out of 4 buyers said the application and approval process was "somewhat more difficult" than expected...and 16 percent reported it was "much more difficult" than expected.
6. About half of home sellers traded up to a larger and more expensive home...and 60 percent traded up to a new home.
7. The top 3 factors influencing neighborhood choice were: the quality of the neighborhood, the convenience to job, and the overall affordability of homes.
8. The typical seller lived in their home for 9 years. That number has increased from 6 years in 2007.
9. Although 61 percent of sellers said they reduced their asking price at least once, the average home sold for 95 percent of the listing price.
10. Only 10 percent of sellers sold their homes without the assistance of a real estate agent. Of those people, 40 percent knew the buyer prior to the sale.
11. The typical "for sale by owner" home sold for $150,000 compared to $215,000 for the average agent-assisted home sale.
Source: The National Association of Realtors