Although tightened inventory has taken a toll on home seekers and caused steeper housing prices, home sellers in many areas of the country have been able to take advantage of these conditions. Sellers saw a very favorable market this year. In fact, home sellers received a median of 99% of their asking price this year and sold their homes typically within three weeks. This is according to a report from the National Association of Realtors®, the 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, a yearly report which covers demographics, preferences and experiences of buyers and sellers across America.

The typical home seller this year was 57 years old, with a median household income of $102,900. Home sellers said they ultimately sold their homes for a median of $60,000 more than they purchased it. For all sellers, the most frequently cited reason for selling, according to 16% of those surveyed, was a desire to move closer to family and friends, which is the first time this has been the top-cited reason in the series’ history. The next most common reason was that the home was too small, and the third was job relocation at 11%. Sellers typically lived in their home for 10 years before selling it, an increase from last year’s share, and elevated from the historical tenure of six years.

Sixty-six percent of sellers reported being “very satisfied” with the overall selling process. Only 8% of recently sold homes were for-sale-by-owner sales, or FSBO. This total is near the lowest share recorded since the NAR began collecting records in 1981. The median age for FSBO sellers is 60 years, while 65% of FSBO sales were by married couples that have a median household income of $94,000. FSBOs typically sell for less than other residences, with last year selling at a median of $200,000, while agent-assisted homes sold at a median at $280,000.

Forty-eight percent of all sellers said they bought a home that was newer than their previous home, while 28% purchased a home the same age and 24% said they purchased a home that was older. Forty-four percent of sellers said they “traded-up” and purchased a home that was more expensive than the one they just sold. Thirty percent purchased a less expensive home and 26% purchased a home that was similar in cost. Sellers who are 64 years of age and younger generally bought a more expensive home than the one they just sold. Those aged 18 to 34 purchased the most expensive trade-ups in 2019, recording an increase of $110,000. Conversely, sellers aged 65 and over typically bought a less expensive home.

About NAR’s Survey

The 2019 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.

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