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The 2010 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is the latest in a series of large national NAR surveys evaluating demographics, preferences, marketing and experiences of recent homebuyers and sellers.Homebuyers today have affirmed a long-term view of homeownership, the typical seller is experiencing positive returns and the vast majority of homeowners see their property as a good investment, according to the latest consumer survey of homebuyers and sellers. The study was released during the 2010 Realtors® Conference & Expo.Although typical sellers had been in their previous home for eight years, up from seven years in the 2009 study, first-time buyers plan to stay for 10 years and repeat buyers plan to hold their property for 15 years.NAR 2010 President Vicki Cox Golder says the pattern of buyers taking a long-term view has solidified over the past few years. "This underscores two simple facts – homeownership encourages stability; and the longer you own, the better your investment."Even with several years of price declines, the typical seller who purchased a home eight years ago experienced a median equity gain of $33,000, a 24 percent increase, while sellers who were in their homes for 11 to 15 years saw a median gain of 40 percent."Sellers who purchased at the top of the market and had to sell in a short timeframe were hurt by the price correction, but the vast majority who are able to stay for a normal period of homeownership generally built enough equity to make a trade-up purchase," Golder says. "Despite swings in the housing market in recent years, the fact is most long-term owners see healthy gains in the value of their property."House flipping is virtually nonexistent in today's market. "The primary exception is for experienced investors, many of whom pay cash and are making renovations or improvements after a careful study of properties, neighborhoods and market demand," Golder says. "The house flipping and quick gains which occurred during the boom period were abnormal, driven by risky, easy-money financing that should never have been allowed in the market."In the 2006 study, which covered sellers during the close of the housing boom, 6 percent of sellers had owned their property for less than a year and a total of 30 percent had owned for three years or less. In the 2010 study, only 3 percent had owned their home for less than a year and a total of 11 percent had owned for three years or less.Paul Bishop, NAR vice president of research, says the lion's share of buyers view their home as a good investment."Eighty-five percent of recent homebuyers see their home as a good investment, and nearly half think that investment is better than stocks," he says. "Even with the turmoil created by the housing boom and bust, this indicates the long-term view of homeownership as a fundamental goal and value remains sound. In fact, the single biggest reason most people buy a home is the simple desire to own a home of their own, cited by 31 percent of respondents, including 53 percent of first-time buyers."
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