Jessica Lautz, the vice president of demographics and behavioral insights for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), presented eleven real estate trends that could affect your business at the 2019 NAR Broker Summit in March.

Noting that affordability and finances are the two most important factors for both buyers and sellers, Lautz pointed to these industry trends:

  1. The lack of affordable housing inventory.
    1. African Americans now have -9% less purchasing power than the average buyer.
    2. Hispanics now have -12% less purchasing power than the average buyer.
    3. People with student loan debt now have -19% less purchasing power than the average buyer.
    4. People over 60 are now carrying 1,250% more of student loan debt than last decade because either they have chosen to return to school or to help their children with tuition costs.
  2. Repeat buyers are now older and unmarried buyers are now increasing.
    1. The median age of return buyers is now 55, up from 36 in 1981.
    2. First time buyers are now 32 years old, compared with 29 years old.
    3. 54% of buyers are married whereas 75% of buyers were married in 1981.
    4. 18% of buyers are now single women.
    5. 16% of buyers are now unmarried couples
    6. 10% of unmarried men are now buyers.
    7. 2% of those 65 and up are now cohabitating.
  3. Owners who are caregiving for pets and ageing parents have taken over caregiving for children.
    1. According to Lautz, “People are not starting families but they are purchasing homes for their pets.”
    2. Only 34% of buyers have children. This is a record low.
    3. One in six Gen Xers are buying homes to share with their parents and their adult children.
  4. The Bank of Mom and Dad is taking over from banks such as Bank America and Wells Fargo.
    1. 33% of buyers are receiving down payment help from their families and friends.
    2. 25% of first time buyers are moving directly from their family home to homeownership and skipping renting entirely.
  5. Buyers are living in their homes longer.
    1. Tenure in homes has risen from 6 years in 1987-2008 is now up to 9 years in 2018.
  6. Student debt is having a crushing affect on home buying.
    1. Currently, the median student loan debt is $41,200.
    2. Student debt is causing a 7-year delay in the ability to buy a home.
    3. Current owners with student debt are also slowed in their ability to buy upgraded homes by some 3 years.
  7. HDTV shows have raised buyers’ expectations of what they want in a home, according to NAR’s 2019 Profile of Home Staging.
    1. 83% buyers’ agents said that staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize properties as future homes.
  8. Sustainability is a plus for buyers who can afford it.
    1. More owners are updating and retrofitting their homes with energy-saving systems after they move into those homes.
  9. Cannabis legalization has increased demand for warehouse and storefront spaces.
  10. Buyers want agents.
  11. Lautz said, “We’re not seeing the fear of tech replacing agents.”
    1. Millennials are using agents more than previous generations.
    2. Only 7% of all sales are FSBO sales, down from nearly 20% in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.
  12. Bottom line – homeownership is the goal.
    1. Nine out of 10 non-owners see homeownership as part and parcel of the American Dream.
    2. Eight out of 10 people plan to own a home in the future.