The National Association of Realtors® has released results of their 2006 Home Buyer & Seller Survey. Interesting reading. Over the past decade, more and more people have turned to the Internet to find their new home (well, that’s obvious, right?).

Other facts:

Married couples make up the largest share of the housing market, accounting for 61 percent of transactions. Single women purchase 21 percent of homes while single men account for 9 percent. Unmarried couples were 7 percent of the market, and 2 percent were listed as other. In 2004, single women were 18 percent of buyers and single men were 8 percent.

The typical buyer walked through nine properties, searched eight weeks to buy a home and moved 12 miles from their previous residence.

The typical seller placed their home on the market for four weeks, had lived in it for six years, moved 15 miles to their new residence and previously owned three homes, including the one just sold.

NAR’s senior economist Paul Bishop said both buyers and sellers use traditional methods to choose a real estate agent. “Word-of-mouth recommendation is the most common way to learn about real estate professionals,� Bishop said. “The most important criteria, whether you’re buying or selling, are the individual agent’s reputation and their knowledge of the local market.�

In finding a real estate professional, 44 percent of buyers were referred by a friend, neighbor or relative, 11 percent used an agent from a previous transaction, 7 percent found an agent on the Internet (Hi, readers!), 7 percent met at an open house and 6 percent saw contact information on a “for sale� sign. Six other categories accounted for smaller shares each.

The most important factor in choosing an agent was reputation, according to 41 percent of home buyers, followed by an agent’s knowledge of the neighborhood, 24 percent. In terms of desired qualities in an agent, three categories were rated as very important by more than nine out of 10 buyers: knowledge of the purchase process, responsiveness and knowledge of the market. Of buyers who use an agent, 63 percent choose a buyer representative. Satisfaction with real estate agents is very high, with 85 percent of buyers saying they were likely to use the agent again.

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