By the Numbers: Who’s Buying Homes These Days?

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Whether you own a house or just hope to some day, it’s natural to wonder exactly how you stack up to everybody else when it comes to looking for and buying a home. Lucky for you, it just happens to be World Statistics Day! So we thought we’d pull together some hard numbers that tell the story of today’s average home buyers—from how much people pay to how long they stay. Check them out, and see just where you stand.


Percentage of Americans who own their home. One in three homes goes to first-time buyers—and that’s the lowest percentage in nearly three decades. Typically, about 40% of buyers are first-timers, but thanks to student loans and the recession, that number is slowly creeping southward.

The median age of the first-time home buyer, according to® data.


The average number of homes that buyers see before making an offer. This process takes most people about 10 weeks.


The median dollar amount buyers pay for a home. In 1963, that cost was just $17,200—and it didn’t veer over the $100,000 mark until May 1987.


Percentage of home buyers who had to scrimp and save to make a down payment on their home. Only 11% offered no down payment at all—because they either bought with cash or acquired a zero-down loan. Financing with the sale of your current home? You’re among 17% of buyers.


The average down payment nationwide. That amounts to about 14% of the price of the home, although the specifics vary by location. The 25 most expensive counties put down an average of 24%, double that of the 25 least expensive counties.

Average rate on a 30-year mortgage as of October 2015—a 0.15% drop from the previous year, but not quite at its lowest level of 3.31%, which it reached in November 2012. Want to know what your rate might be? You can calculate that number here.


The average square footage of a new home. Our McMansions have nearly doubled in size since 1973, when the average home was only 1,660 square feet. That’s approximately 980 square feet per resident—enough for two tiny houses each.


That’s how many years the average homeowner stays in his or her home before moving. First-time buyers stick around just 11 years—4 fewer years than second-timers.

Percentage of buyers who used a real estate agent.

Please, Mr. Postman

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Nope, Realtors® are not going the way of record stores, fax machines, and travel agents. In this ever-complicated market, they’re actually becoming more important to the buying and selling process than ever—and it’s no wonder that number has increased from 69% in 2001. Looking for your own agent? Find one here.

Percentage of householders who rate their homes a “10” on a scale of 1 to 10. No doubt about it, there’s no place like home sweet home!