Home Buyer and Seller Trends in 2023: An Insightful Overview

REALTORs Standing Outside a Home

The landscape of home buying and selling is continuously evolving, reflecting broader socio-economic shifts, technological advancements, and changing demographics. In 2023, these dynamics are particularly evident, as illustrated by the latest trends in home buying and selling, as revealed by the annual National Association of Realtors survey. This survey uncovers the characteristics of home buyers and sellers, the nature of homes purchased, and the overall buying and selling process.

Characteristics of Home Buyers

  1. Increased First-Time Buyers: First-time buyers constituted 32% of the market, a notable increase from 26% last year but still below the long-term average of 38% since 1981. The typical first-time buyer’s age slightly decreased to 35 years, while the average age of repeat buyers dipped to 58 years.
  2. Marital Status and Household Composition: Married couples represented 59% of recent buyers, the lowest since 2010. Single females and males accounted for 19% and 10%, respectively, with unmarried couples making up 9%. Significantly, 70% of recent buyers did not have children under 18, the highest percentage recorded.
  3. Diverse Buyers: The buyer demographic was predominantly White/Caucasian (81%), followed by Hispanic/Latino (7%), Black/African-American (7%), and Asian/Pacific Islander (6%). Most buyers identified as heterosexual (88%), with smaller percentages representing other sexual orientations.
  4. Veterans and Service Members: Veterans made up 16% of recent home buyers, alongside 2% who were active-duty service members.
  5. Motivation for Purchase: The primary reason for purchasing a home was the desire for homeownership (26% overall, 60% among first-time buyers).
Home Buyers

Home Buyers

Characteristics of Homes Purchased

  1. New vs. Previously-Owned Homes: Only 13% of buyers opted for new homes, with 87% purchasing previously-owned properties. The main attraction for new homes was avoiding renovations, while better pricing drove the purchase of older homes.
  2. Popular Home Types: Detached single-family homes remained predominant (79%), followed by townhouses (8%). There was a significant increase in senior-related housing purchases.
  3. Location and Size: Buyers generally moved only 20 miles from their previous homes. The typical home purchased measured 1,860 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
  4. Home Price and Stay Duration: Homes were typically purchased at asking price, and buyers planned to stay in their homes for a median of 15 years.
A Bungalow with Peach Flowers

A Bungalow with Peach Flowers

The Home Search Process

  1. Online Search Predominance: Online property searches were the first step for 41% of buyers, and 90% found real estate agents very or somewhat useful.
  2. Duration and Resources Used: The search lasted 10 weeks on average, involving viewing 7 homes, with 4 viewed exclusively online. Websites with photos, detailed property information, and agent contacts were most valued.

Home Buying and Real Estate Professionals

  1. Agent Involvement: A significant majority (89%) purchased homes through agents or brokers.
  2. Agent Selection: Most buyers chose agents based on referrals or previous experiences.
  3. Satisfaction Level: High satisfaction was reported with 90% willing to use or recommend their agent again.

Financing the Home Purchase

  1. Financing Trends: 80% of buyers financed their purchase, with first-time buyers typically making an 8% down payment.
  2. Downpayment Sources: Savings were a primary source for down payments, especially among first-time buyers.
  3. Investment Perception: Buyers overwhelmingly viewed home purchases as a good financial investment.
60 Year-old Man Looking at a Tablet at His Kitchen Table

60 Year-old Man Looking at a Tablet at His Kitchen Table

Home Sellers and Their Selling Experience

  1. Seller Profile: The average home seller was 60 years old.
  2. Selling Motivation: Common reasons for selling included relocating closer to family and friends, needing a larger or smaller home, and family changes.
  3. Market Performance: Homes sold for their listing price and remained on the market for a median of two weeks.

Home Selling and Real Estate Professionals

  1. Agent Dependence: Most sellers relied on real estate agents, with a significant percentage reusing agents for selling and buying.
  2. Referrals and Recommendations: Referrals played a crucial role in agent selection, and sellers were likely to recommend their agents post-sale.

For-Sale-by-Owner (FSBO) Sellers

  1. FSBO Trends: Only 7% of sales were FSBO, tying with the all-time low in 2021.
  2. FSBO Characteristics: FSBO sales were more common in rural areas, and these homes typically sold for less than agent-assisted homes.


The 2023 home buyer and seller trends highlight a market adapting to changing demographics, economic conditions, and buyer preferences. While the increase in first-time buyers signals renewed interest in homeownership, the trend towards smaller households and the high representation of older buyers reflect broader demographic shifts.

About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.