Zillow Study Busts First-Time Buyer Myths

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Everything you think you know about first-time buyers is wrong.

This new info comes fresh from a recent 160-question Zillow Group survey conducted with 13,000 homebuyers and sellers who closed transactions in 2016. The results of the survey bust several prevalent first-time buyer myths wide open and are soon to be released for the general public’s access.

For starters? In 2016, a whopping 53 percent of all buyer sales were to first-time buyers, hopefully putting to rest the myth that the market is too expensive for our first-timers.

Thanks to low interest rates, homes are more affordable in the current market than they’ve been in decades. According to Zillow’s findings, today’s borrowers are spending an average of 15 percent of their income on their mortgage. In the 1980s, that number was closer to 30 percent.

Another surprising find from the study? Millennials are looking to buy just as much as boomers are.

The average buyer in the Zillow study was just 36 years old, and a solid half of the buyers were millennials. According to the most recent National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the primary motivations driving millennials to purchase include their desire to own a home, a job-related relocation or move, the desire for a larger home or a change in their family situation. And, unlike Boomers (who are willing to live within a 20-30 mile radius of friends and family), it turns out that millennials prefer at most a 10-mile radius from their loves ones. Almost two-thirds cite being near friends and family as an important factor in their purchasing decision.

Zillow also gathered data on where first-time buyers are finding their agents. As it turns out, 32 percent relied on personal referrals; 28 percent found their agent online.

Regardless of where the buyers found their agents, one detail remained the same across the board–buyers are researching potential agents online. Because of this, Zillow Group COO Amy Bohutinsky recommends that you make your online profile, reviews and testimonials as detailed as possible. More often than not, your profile will be your first impression to buyers.

Zillow’s research also revealed plenty of data about the seasonality of real estate searches.

Real estate sales tend to hit their heights in the spring and the summer, but the process begins well before buyers reach out to an agent.

As it turns out, Zillow’s research shows that the biggest week for new Zillow app downloads was the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

This spike has a pretty simple explanation, though–many people receive new devices (tablets, phones, etc.) for the holidays and need to re-download their apps. This download spike lasts until about January 16th, and picks up again between February 16 and May 16.

Keep your eyes peeled for more info from the Zillow survey, brought to you by The MLS!

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