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How different generations buy and sell real estate

I just came across the following generational home buying data from the National Association of Realtors in the US (via Curbed SF):

It was initially published in July 2013 and so I think the data represents what happened in 2012. The report isn’t exactly clear about the timing. In any event, what I found more interesting is how the various generations perceive the utility of agents. There are different use cases.

Millenials feel the need to have an agent help them navigate the purchasing process. This makes sense, as many of them would be first time buyers. However, Millenials are also almost 4x more likely to engage agents for “a limited set of services as requested by the seller”, as opposed to just a conventional full service brokerage agreement.

On the other hand, older buyers like to have an agent help them identify property deficiencies and sellers over 32 years old use a full service broker more than 80% of the time. I find this interesting because it starts to speak to potential changes in the marketplace.

Looking at a more recent report from the NAR (2013 Profile of Buyers and Sellers), I found it surprising to learn that the share of buyers who used an agent went from 69% in 2001 to 88% in 2013. Even with the internet disrupting so many industries, realtor market share has actually grown over the last decade.

Not surprisingly, the percentage of sellers who used an agent is also 88%. This is because the dual-agency model requires that both sides of the marketplace be represented.

Finally, the percentage of sellers who sold their home without an agent is roughly 9%. And 46% said it was because they wanted to save on commission. I’m assuming that the reason the math doesn’t add up (9% for-sale-by-owner + 88% agent) is because of estate sales, auctions and so on.

The real estate marketplace is an interesting one. What do you think we’ll see in the future?

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