It’s not a secret: home sales have been unexpectedly astronomical over the last year. After an initial dip in spring 2020, housing prices began to take off in July of that year. Due to a host of factors including record-breaking low interest rates, homebuyers are flooding the market. But due to low inventory, those homebuyers are entering bidding wars that are driving up prices in housing markets across the country. 

We scoured sources for the most interesting and enlightening data on real estate trends to better understand how we got here and where we might go.

Real Estate Statistics: Home Value

After the housing crash of 2008, the real estate industry took a huge hit. Housing values from metro areas to rural counties dropped seemingly overnight. Since 2011, the housing market has been rebounding strongly year over year. 

    • In 2018, the U.S. housing market was valued at $33.3 trillion. (Housing Wire)
    • Home values are going up: the number of homes for sale for less than $200k has fallen from 1.1 million in 2012 to 400,000 in 2019. 
    • More than two-thirds of residential properties sold for more than 95% of the asking price in 2019.
    • In January 2020, the average home price was $266,300. (Statista)
    • By December 2020, the median sales price for houses was $355,900. The average sales price was $394,900. (United States Census Bureau)
    • In 2020, the median price of a house was $304,100. (National Association of Realtors)
    • Luxury home prices are on a continuous rise with the average price increasing 1.6% year over year. (Redfin)

Homebuyer Statistics

As we said, homebuyers are flooding the market. But who are the homebuyers of the current market? And how are their unique factors— preferences, income, demographics— impacting today’s market?

    • Most buyers buy their homes with the assistance of a real estate agent or broker— 88% to be exact. That number has been increasing steadily since 2001. (Realtor.org)
    • The condition of a home matters: only 1 in 6 homebuyers will compromise on home conditions if the location and price are right. (Homebuyer Statistics)
    • Homebuyers search for their homes for 3 weeks before contacting a realtor on average. (Homebuyer Statistics)
    • Most buyers, 86% of them, purchase a previously owned home. (NAR)
    • Most buyers opt for a detached home at 82% purchasing one. (NAR)
    • 2% of buyers purchase the home they were renting. (NAR)
    • 58% of buyers cite “neighborhood quality” as a key buying factor. (NAR)
    • Homebuyers spend about 10 weeks looking for their home before buying. (NAR)
    • Doing paperwork is the main issue for 20% of homebuyers. (NAR)

Homebuying Costs

What does it take to buy a home? We found these very telling stats to help you better understand the cost of the process.

    • To buy a new home, you need an income of at least $60,770. (HSH Associates)
    • The down payment for a newly constructed home is $59,880 on average. (Forbes)
    • The average American spent $20,091 on housing in 2018. (BLS)
    • Buyers typically finance 88% of their home purchase price. (Realtor.org)

Homebuyer Demographics

Real estate stats are just one part of the market data puzzle. Who buys homes is just as important to understand how the housing market works as costs and construction rates.

    • The median age of a repeat homebuyer is 55, and their median income is $106,700. (Realtor.org)
    • Millennials identify “understanding the homebuying process” as one of the most difficult steps in the homebuying journey. (Homebuyer Statistics)
    • 33% of homebuyers between the ages of 29 and 38 say they bought their home to take care of their parents. (NAR)
    • Young people most often purchase their first home because they desire homeownership. (NAR)
    • Half of all home purchases were done by Millennials in 2020. (Realtor)
    • On average, Americans spend more than 50% of their earnings buying a home. (PWC.com)
    • Young homebuyers (under the age of 29) don’t expect to be in their homes for long: 59% expect to live there fewer than 10 years and 28% plan on living there for less than 5 years.  (Homebuyer Statistics)
    • 84% of homebuyers identified as caucasian in 2019. (Homebuyer Statistics)
    • Older homebuyers are more likely to purchase a new home that’s farther from their old home. (NAR)
    • 74% of younger millennials prefer new or newer homes so that they don’t have to worry about renovations or plumbing issues. (NAR)
    • Reducing commuting costs in a top factor in choosing a home for 40% of millennial homebuyers. (NAR)
    • Of homebuyers, Generation X makes up 32% of purchases and Baby Boomers make up 17% of purchases with those numbers expected to decrease over the next decade. (Realtor)
    • GenXers prefer to buy homes of 2,000 square feet or larger. (NAR)
    • 61% of homeowners are married. (NAR)
    • The second-largest group of home sellers is GenXers. The largest are Baby Boomers. (NAR)
    • The smallest segment of homebuyers is the Silent Generation born between 1928 and 1945. (NAR)
    • Nearly one-fourth of homebuyers have student loan debt with the median amount owed at $28,000. 18% of these buyers owe more than $75,000. (Homebuyer Statistics)
    • The household income for Millenials in 2019 was, on average, between $71,200 and $101,200. (Homebuyer Statistics)
    • Single females made up 18% of homebuyers in 2019. (Homebuyer Statistics)
    • Single females made up 17% of homebuyers in 2020. (NAR)
    • Florida has the highest number of single female homeowners— they account for 65% of home sales. (NAR)
    • Texas has the second-highest number of single female homeowners, and Georgia comes in third. (NAR)
    • Women buy more houses than single men and they buy more expensive houses. (NAR)

First-Time Homebuyer Statistics

Buying a home is a huge step in financial independence and is often one leg of the average American’s retirement status. We researched the best information about who first-time homebuyers are and what kind of impact they have on real estate market trends.

    • The median age of a first-time homebuyer is 33, and their median income is $80,000. (Realtor.org)
    • Homebuyers under the age of 28 are the most likely to buy a previously owned home— 94% opt for a resale house. (NAR)
    • 33% of the home buying market was comprised of first-time homebuyers in 2020. (NAR)
    • 52% of older Millennials (29 to 38 years of age) and 86% of younger Millennials (21 to 28 years of age) were first-time homebuyers. (NAR)
    • In 2019, one-third of homebuyers were first-time homebuyers. (Homebuyer Statistics)
    • Nearly three-fourths of first-time homebuyers live in rental housing immediately preceding purchasing their first home.  (Homebuyer Statistics)
    • From December 2019 to January 2020, first-time homebuyers increased from 31% to 32%. (NAR)

Real Estate Agent Statistics

Agents and brokers are a well-established part of the home buying process for a reason. They consistently help people save money and offer critical expertise to the process. Here’s what we found most interesting about the profession and what it’s like to run a real estate business. 

    • The United States has more than 3 million active real estate licensees. (Arello)
    • Zillow lists more than 92,000 agents on its site. (Zillow)
    • The U.S. has 106,548 real estate brokerage firms. (Census Bureau)
    • Realtor licenses: 68% of realtors are licensed sales agents, 20% have a broker license, and 13% have a broker associate license. (NAR)
    • Most realtors are female, white, and in their early fifties. (NAR)
    • The median real-estate experience of a realtor is 8 years. (NAR)
    • The median tenure of a realtor at their present firm is 5 years. (NAR)
    • In 2020, the typical realtor worked about 35 hours a week. (NAR) 
    • The median gross income for a realtor with 16 years of experience is $75,000. For realtors with 2 years of experience (or less), it’s $8,500. Both of those amounts are lower than they were in 2019. (NAR)
    • Agents spend on average $6,290 on business expenses every year. $1,400 of that expense budget goes to vehicle care. (NAR)
    • Most realtors hold a bachelor’s degree (32%), associate’s degree (13%), or have some college completed (29%). (NAR)
    • 18% of realtors have completed courses for or obtained a graduate degree.
    • 88% of realtors are independent contractors. (NAR)
    • Realtor communication: text messaging is the most common form of communication from realtor to the client, followed by telephone and then email. (NAR)
    • Most realtors have a website and nearly three-fourths use Facebook for professional purposes. Linked In is used by half of realtors. (NAR)
    • Most homeowners— 74%— prefer to work with realtors who use video to sell their homes. But only 10% of sellers report that their agents used video. (Real Estate Marketing Statistics)
    • The third-most viewed page on a real estate website is the “About Us” page. (Real Estate Marketing Statistics)
    • Agents should request reviews: 69% of home sellers would write a review if requested. (Real Estate Marketing Statistics)
    • “Professional reputation” is the most important factor in choosing a real estate agent. (Real Estate Marketing Statistics)
    • Homebuyers need agents to find their homes and to negotiate the sale. (NAR)
    • Agents earned 17% of their income through referrals in 2019. (NAR)

Real Estate Statistics: Home Sales

Home sales are at an all-time high with 2021 housing market statistics breaking records month after month. Here’s the most interesting information we found based on recent market reports.

    • In 2020, 5.64 million homes were sold. (NAR)
    • In July 2020 alone more than 900,000 homes were sold. (United States Census Bureau)
    • Most buyers, 51%, find their homes on the internet. 28% find their home through their Realtor. (Realtor.org)
    • Home sellers on average are 56 years old with a median household income of $106,500. On average, they’ve lived in their home for a decade. (Realtor.org)
    • 22% of recent home sellers report lowering their asking price at least once during the home selling process. However, most sold their homes for 99% of the asking price. (Realtor.org)
    • Homes with drone footage sell 68% faster than homes without drone footage. (Real Estate Marketing Statistics)
    • Homes sell the fastest in June. (Real Estate Marketing Statistics)
    • Real estate agents and brokers are popular: 92% of homes are sold with their help. (Real Estate Marketing Statistics)
    • 75% of home sellers use the first real estate agent they interview. (Real Estate Marketing Statistics)
    • Approximately 43% of the home sellers market is made up of Baby Boomers. (Home Seller Statistics)
    • After home sales were steady for most of 2019 at 433,000 sales per month, they grew rapidly in 2020 to 764,000 sales per month. (Home Seller Statistics)
    • The typical home sold was built in 1993 and had 1,900 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
    • In 2019, 2% of home sales were attributed to newspaper advertising.  (Home Seller Statistics)
    • Before March 2020, 41% of home sellers have a price reduction before getting an accepted offer. (Home Seller Statistics)
    • It takes 30-45 days on average to purchase a home. (MoneyUnder30)
    • The average time-on-market was 40 days in 2019. (Redfin)

Statistics on Selling Your Home

When you’re selling, it’s good to know important numbers regarding selling a home. Remember that selling a home is vastly different from the buying process and comes with very different consequences.

    • Many sellers, 41%, use a real estate agent recommended by family or friends. 26% use an agent they’ve worked with before. (Realtor.org)
    • 74% of sellers say they would work with the same agent again. (Realtor.org)
    • Homes listed on Thursdays tend to sell for more— $3,015 more than the listed price. (Redfin)
    • One-third of sellers provide an incentive when selling their home. Incentives include a home warranty or covered closing costs. (Home Seller Statistics)
    • When they sell, the average home seller cashes in 29% of their equity.  (Home Seller Statistics)

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Statistics

Some homesellers choose to list, market, and sell their homes on their own. Here are the most interesting statistics we found regarding FSBO home sales.

    • FSBO sales accounted for 8% of all home sales in 2020. (Realtor.org)
    • FSBO homes tend to sell for less than homes sold with an agent— $217,900 for an FSBO sale and $295,000 for an agent-assisted sale in 2020. (Realtor.org)
    • Most FSBO sellers do nothing to actively market their homes. 25% install a yard sign, 22% put the word out to their neighbors, 14% use social media, and 11% use open houses. (Realtor.org)
    • 12% of FSBO cite “fixing up home for sale” as the most difficult task for selling. (Realtor.org)
    • 5% of homebuyers purchase a home directly from the owner. (NAR)

Statistics on Homeowners

Who does (and doesn’t) own their home shapes the market in many ways. While this group is ever-shifting, some statistics have held strong for decades.

    • 64.9% of families owned their primary residence in 2019. (Federal Reserve)
    • Homeownership rates rose steadily between 2016 and 2020. (United States Census Bureau)
    • In Q4 2020, homeownership was at 65.8%. (United States Census Bureau)
    • 80.2% of U.S. citizens over the age of 64 own their homes. (United States Census Bureau)
    • People under the age of 35 have the lowest rate of homeownership at 38.5%. (United States Census Bureau)

Real Estate Statistics by Location

The first rule of real estate is “Location, location, location.” That’s why we took a closer look at regional housing market stats. 

    • Los Angeles has the most active real estate agents with nearly 40,000. Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix are next, all with over 20,000 agents. (HomeLight)
    • The Midwest has the highest homeownership rate at 70.8%. (United States Census Bureau)
    • The hottest real estate market in the U.S. is the Boston metropolitan area. The median list price is $631,000 and the median days on market is 3. The average list price has increased by 4% year over year. (Real Estate Marketing Statistics)
    • 51% of home buyers choose to buy in the suburbs. (NAR)
    • In the last year, 19 of 20 major cities in the U.S. continued to see housing prices increase. Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Tampa saw the largest increase. Seattle was the only major city that saw a decrease in prices. (Global Property Guide)
    • Mississippi has the cheapest houses. The cost of living index is at 86.1 and the housing cost index is at 70.1. (World Population Review)
    • The best cities for families to live in: Fishers and Carmel Indiana (ApartmentList.com)
    • The least competitive city housing market in the U.S. is Miami. (Redfin)
    • Over 60% of homeowners remain in their state after selling their homes. (NAR)
    • Since February 2012, California’s housing market value has increased by $3.7 trillion. (Housing Wire)

Foreclosures and Home Buying Statistics

While foreclosure rates remain low, many predict that over the next two years foreclosures may flood the market. 

    • Purchasing a home in foreclosure is not popular— 69% of buyers say they would not consider it. (NAR)
    • In 2019, foreclosures were down 21%. (Statista)
    • In 2019, 0.36% of all residential properties in the U.S. were filed for foreclosure. That’s 493,066 properties in total. (Statista)

Real Estate Statistics: Home Construction

Housing inventory is low across the country. The reason why is more complicated than “low construction rates.” It’s the culmination of years of construction trends, much of which was shaped by the 2008 Financial Crisis.

    • In 2020, 822,000 new homes were sold. (Census.gov)
    • In 2019, 667,000 new homes were sold. (NAR)

Commercial Real Estate Statistics

Residential real estate is just one-half of the market. Commercial real estate is the other half. And though the number of commercial real estate properties may be lower than residential properties, the value of each is quite similar. 

    • In 2019, there were 5.9 million commercial real estate buildings in the U.S., which amounted to 97 billion square feet of floor space. (EIA.gov)
    • In 2019, the average sale price for commercial property was $1.2 million. (NAR)

Renting Statistics

Renters in New York City have been saying it for years: the rent is too damn high. But housing affordability is a major issue across the country due to changes in human migration and housing supply.

    • Renting cost is at an all-time high with a median asking price of $1,190.  (United States Census Bureau)
    • 8% of homeowners regret switching from renting to homeownership. (Zillow)
    • As of March 2020, renting costs increased in 65% of counties in the U.S. (Realtor)
    • In San Francisco, the average rent is $3,490. (Zumper)

FAQ: Real Estate Statistics

Will real estate go up or down in 2022?

While many predict that homebuying demand will flatten in the next six to twelve months, the housing supply is not predicted to correct itself for years. This means that area with short supply and slower construction rates will likely continue to see upward pressure on the housing market. 

How much does real estate appreciate on average?

Before 2020, the national average appreciation rate was 3.8%. However, home value appreciation vaires greatly based on location. Home values have appreciated at much higher rates in certain housing markets— Denver, Phoenix, and Charlotte (NC) for example. While states like Louisiana and Mississippi tend to see appreciation below the national average. 

Methodology & Sources

Statistics from the following institutions were incorporated onto this page: Insurify, Rocket Mortgage, SmartAsset, Nerdwallet, Business Insider, WalletHub, Housing Wire, Statista, United States Census Bureau, National Association of Realtors, Redfin, Realtor.org, Homebuyer Statistics, HSH Associates, Forbes, BLS, Realtor, PWC.com, Arello, Zillow, Real Estate Marketing Statistics, Home Seller Statistics, MoneyUnder30, HomeLight, Global Property Guide, World Population Review, ApartmentList.com, EIA.gov, Don’t Quit Your Day Job, and Zumper.

Data Attribution: The information, statistics, and data visualizations on this page are free to use; we simply ask that you attribute any full or partial use to Insurify through a link to this page.

Updated August 16, 2021

J.J. Starr is a health and finance copywriter who enjoys helping readers find the information they need. In addition to her background in banking and financial advising, she is also a poet with an MFA from New York University. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. You can learn more at jjstarrwrites.com.