11 Things to Know About Home Buyers and Sellers in 2017

Every year the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) releases a Home Buyer and Seller survey so that we can all have a better understanding of what buyers and sellers face during the year. What’s new, different, better, or worse about buying or selling real estate? This survey is a comprehensive look at the experience of buying and selling real estate on a national level.

All real estate is local, of course, and across the Emerald Coast, some of these variables will be a little different, but it’s a good way to get an idea of the real estate market. With that being said, here are 11 interesting things from the NAR 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

  1. First time home buyers have more student loan debt than in the past with 41 percent reporting some amount of student loan debt.. The average balance is $29,000 with more than half of those surveyed reporting that they have at least $25,000 in student loan debt. 
  2. The median age of a first time home buyer is 32 years old with a household income of $75,000, up from 2016 when it was $72,000. The median age of repeat buyers is 54, up from 52 last year with an annual income of $97,500, not much different from last year ($98,000).
  3. New buyers bought smaller homes at slightly higher prices. The median home size was 1640 square feet compared to last year when it was 1650. The price went up to $190,000 and was $182,500 in 2016.
  4. Repeat buyers purchased a 2,000-square-foot home this year just like last year. But the price was higher, costing $266,500, up from $250,000 in 2016.
  5. In 2017, 42 percent of buyers paid the list price or more for their home, up from 40 percent last year. This is likely due to a lack of inventory driving up competition and prices.
  6. Conventional mortgages continue to dominate housing purchases with 58 percent of buyers financing their purchase this way while 34 percent used a FHA loan with a lower down payment option.
  7. Buyers are moving to the suburbs, more rural areas, and small towns with 85 percent of all buyers choosing these locations.
  8. Detached single family homes continue to be a more popular option across the nation with 83 percent of buyers choosing this option which remains the highest share for the third year in a row since 2004.
  9. What may come to no surprise is that 95 percent of all buyers began their search for a home or a real estate agent online.
  10. Ultimately 87 percent worked with a real estate agent at some point in the process and transaction.
  11. Sellers worked with a real estate agent 89 percent of the time – an all-time high – and only 8 percent worked as a FSBO (for-sale-by-owner).

On an individual basis, and here in Northwest Florida, some of your experience may vary, this is an excellent snapshot of the real estate market from a buyer or seller perspective. 


  1. It’s great to learn more about home sellers at this time. My wife and I really want to buy a home next year, so this is helpful. It’s a little scary to see that 85% of people want to move to suburbs because that’s where we want to move.

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