The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their annual "2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, MA Report." There are many great figures and statistics that can be found in the report of which a few stood out to me:
~ 94% of buyers in MA used an agent to assist in the process of buying a home in 2011. Nationally, that figure has risen 20% over the last 10 years.
~ "For sale by owner" (FSBO) home sales made up only 10% of national home sales in 2011 and only 5% of homes sold in MA in 2011. Of the 10% nationally, 40% of the sellers knew the buyer and in MA 100% of FSBOs knew the buyer.
~ The average home sale price for FSBOs in MA was $325,500 compared to the average home sale price of $399,900 for homes sold using an agent.
The moral of this story and what the trends clearly show is that buyers and sellers of real estate understand that the real estate market has become increasingly difficult to comprehend since the housing bubble "transition" in 2005. One may contribute the increased complexity to the ever changing mortgage market (90% of purchases in 2011 had a mortgage) or possibly the increased scrutiny of appraisals (see my previous blog post titled "Understanding the Role of an Appraisal").
No matter what the reason, the fact remains that this is not the rubber stamp days of the late 90s and early 2000s. If selling a home were like riding in a canoe, todays market would be considered a class 6 rapid vs the relatively calm waters of 10 years ago. The stumbling blocks that face buyers and sellers today are too numerous to count and now more than ever it is important to have a qualified agent in your corner to help navigate the waterways.