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85+ Must-Know Home Buying And Mortgage Statistics For 2020

16-minute read

September 18, 2020

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The housing market is rapidly evolving, so it’s important to pay attention to trends and understand how different factors can affect each other. One way to better understand the market is to analyze overarching themes and different real estate statistics. To give home buyers a better understanding of this information, we’ve focused on mortgage trends and home buying statistics.

We’ve also created a graphic with the most important takeaways and stats for the remainder of 2020.

Home Buying Statistics

Buying a home is a dream for many Americans. We included a variety of different home buying stats to show how this American dream has been bringing families and communities together. This includes homeownership rates, types of homes, preferred neighborhoods, the buying process and age-related data on home buyer preferences and practices.

Below are a couple of highlights from the following home-buying stats sections:

  • The top reported first step in a home buyer's process was looking online for properties for sale (44%), followed by contacting a real estate agent (17%). (National Association of Realtors (NAR), 2019)

  • 58% of buyers age 29 – 38 years old had one or more children under the age of 18 residing in the home. (NAR, 2019)

  • The two most desired home features across generations are a master bedroom with a private master bathroom and a fenced-in backyard. (Coldwell Banker, 2020)

  • The most unaffordable area to live (when factoring in median income) is the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California, area – only 12.7% of properties are affordable to the median household. The most affordable area is Binghamton, New York, as 99% of properties are affordable based on the median household income. (Joint Centers for Housing Studies (JCHS) of Harvard University, 2020)

  • On average, buyers spend 10 weeks searching for a home. (NAR, 2019)

Home Buyer Stats: Motivations And Characteristics

63% of recent buyers were married couples, 18% were single females, 9% were single males, and 8% were unmarried couples. (NAR, 2019)

Whether you’re buying or selling your home, it pays to understand the motivations and characteristics of the buyer market. For example, as a buyer, you may find a way to snap up a great deal by going after a fixer-upper that is drawing less attention than a nearby move-in ready home – especially if you’re looking for a starter home and could use the extra funds.

 

1. The highest reported reason for purchasing a home was the desire to be a homeowner, reported by 29% of all buyers. (NAR, 2019)

2. The median homeowner salary in the U.S. is $72,615 and renters' is $35,962. When looking at home prices and income, 82% of homes are affordable for the median owner, while only 42% of rentals are affordable to the median renter. (JCHS of Harvard University, 2020)

3. First-time buyers made up 33% of all home buyers in 2019. (NAR, 2019)

4. 34% of all home buyers felt they made no compromises in the home they purchased. The top reported compromises were the price, condition and the size of the home. (NAR, 2019)

5. When looking at prior living arrangements, 37% rented an apartment or house before purchasing.” (NAR, 2019)

6. Single women outnumbered single men as home buyers 18% to 9% overall in 2019. (NAR, 2019)

7. Of home buyers in 2019, 63% were married couples, 18% were single females, 9% were single males, and 8% were unmarried couples. (NAR, 2019)

8. Home buyers who have children under the age of 18 living at home accounted for 37% of all buyers. (NAR, 2019)

9. Those numbers were higher when looking at buyers 29 – 38 years old, 58% reported having at least one child (under 18) living in the home. (NAR, 2019)

10. Buyers ages of 39 – 53 had the highest household incomes of any generation at $111,100 in 2017. (NAR, 2019)

Homeownership Rates

Homeownership rate was highest in the Midwest (69.2%), followed by the South (67.6%), the Northeast (62.4%) and the West (60.1%).

So who’s buying homes these days? People of all ages and backgrounds. Homeownership rates can be a sign of overall economic standings of an area or a group of people. See some of these different rates broken down by various factors and demographics. 

11. U.S. homeownership rate reached 65.3% in Q1 of 2020 compared to:

  • 2%: Q1 2019
  • 1%: Q4 2019

12. In Q1 2020, the homeownership rate was highest in the Midwest (69.2%), followed by the South (67.6%), the Northeast (62.4%) and the West (60.1%). (Housing Vacancy Survey, 2020)

13. In Q1 2020, The homeownership rate was highest for those householders aged 65 years and over (78.7%) and lowest for those under 35 (37.3%). (Housing Vacancy Survey, 2020)

14. The homeownership rates for households with income greater than or equal to the median family income were:

  • 8%: Q1 2020
  • 0%: Q1 2019

15. The homeownership rate for households with income less than the median family income were:

  • 8%: Q1 2020
  • 5%: Q1 2019

Buying Process

“93% of buyers reported using an online website for information regarding their home search and 86% reported using a real estate agent.” (NAR, 2019)

The home buying process can be a confusing journey for those new to the inner workings of real estate. See stats on the buying process including info on the length of the process and common practices.

Outcomes And Preferences

16. The median purchase price when evaluated as a percent of the asking price was 99% across all buyers. (NAR, 2019)

17. The top three most difficult parts of the home buying process are finding the right property, paperwork and understanding the home buying process. 19% of buyers reported that there were no difficult steps. (NAR, 2019)

18. 69% of buyers did not consider buying a home in foreclosure. For those 64 and older, that percentage was 80 – 85%.” (NAR, 2019)

Information And Methods

19. The top reported first step in a home buyer's process was looking online for properties for sale, reported at 44% followed by contacting a real estate agent at 17%. (NAR, 2019)

20. 50% of all buyers found their home through the internet and 28% used a real estate agent. (NAR, 2019)

21. A majority (56%) of Americans who previously worked with a real estate agent cite excellent customer service skills as one of the most important qualities for an agent to possess; excellent customer service skills were defined as: kept in touch/followed up, explained things well, made themselves readily available. (Coldwell Banker, 2020)

22. 93% of buyers reported using an online website for information regarding their home search and 86% reported using a real estate agent. (NAR, 2019)

Timing And Search Duration

23. When looking at the timing of a home purchase, 17% of buyers felt that they “did not have much choice, had to purchase when did” and 2% “wish they had waited.” (NAR, 2019)

24. On average, buyers spent 10 weeks searching for a home. (NAR, 2019)

25. Typically, the first week of April is the best time to list a home as online property views are 11% higher than average — these rates decrease as fall approaches. (Realtor, 2020)

26. Buyers who called a real estate agent, searched on their own for 3 weeks before calling an agent. (NAR, 2019) 

27. Buyers viewed an average of 10 houses during their home search. (NAR, 2019)

Type Of Home

“Roughly 7 in 10 millennials (70%) and Gen Xers (71%) say they would be willing to sacrifice home size for a move-in ready home. Boomers agree but at a lower rate (63%).” (Coldwell Banker, 2020)

Homes come in all shapes and sizes, ages and styles – some new construction and some previously owned fixer-uppers. Each property has its own pros and cons, so understanding what’s desirable could give you a leg up in negotiations. Some of the most important characteristics of a home were things like move-in ready property perks and privacy.

Home Characteristics

28. The two most desired home features across generations are a master bedroom with a private master bathroom and a fenced-in backyard. (Coldwell Banker, 2020)

29. 82% of all homes bought in 2019 were detached single-family homes. (NAR, 2019)

30. Carpeting is less popular among all three generations, with 20% of millennials, 21% of Gen X and 21% of boomers saying that carpeting would make them more likely to purchase a home. (Coldwell Banker, 2020)

31. Respondents age 39 – 63 were the most likely (11%) to purchase one or more investment properties. (NAR, 2019)

New Vs. Previously Owned

32. New home purchases made up a 14% share and previously owned homes made up 86%. (NAR, 2019)

33. Top three reasons reported in favor of purchasing a new home include avoiding renovations, the ability to customize and the amenities of new home communities. (NAR, 2019)

34. Top three reasons reported in favor of purchasing a previously owned home include better price, better overall value and more charm or character. (NAR, 2019)

Home Size

35. Roughly seven in 10 millennials (70%) and Gen Xers (71%) say they would be willing to sacrifice home size for a move-in ready home. Boomers agree but at a lower rate (63%). (Coldwell Banker, 2020)

36. The typical home purchased in 2019:

  • Had three bedrooms and two bathrooms
  • Was 1,900 square feet
  • Was built in 1991.

37. Buyers age 39 – 53 purchased the largest median home size at 2,100 square feet; buyers 28 and younger bought the smallest properties with an average size of 1,700 square feet. (NAR, 2019)

Neighborhood 

“The most unaffordable area to live is the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA area, only 12.75% of properties are affordable compared to the median household. The most affordable area is Binghamton, NY at 99%.” (JCHS of Harvard University, 2020)

“Location, location, location” has been shown to be the home buying priority once again. Let’s look at what makes a desirable neighborhood and property location.

Neighborhood Characteristics

38. Eight in 10 (81%) Americans agree that they value the location of their home over the size, with all generations in agreement: boomers (79%), Gen Xers (79%) and millennials (81%). (Coldwell Banker, 2020)

39. The top reported factors that influenced neighborhood choice was the quality of the neighborhood, job convenience and the overall affordability of the homes. (NAR, 2019)

40. The most unaffordable area to live (when factoring in median income) is the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California area, only 12.75% of properties are affordable to the median household. The most affordable area is Binghamton, New York as 99% of properties are affordable based on the median household income.” (JCHS of Harvard University, 2020)

41. Nearly three out of four boomers (72%), Gen Xers (73%) and millennials (73%) want to live close to their families. (Coldwell Banker, 2020)

42. For the median homeowner household, neighborhood affordability is 82.3% nationwide, compared to 41.9% of renters. (JCHS of Harvard University, 2020)

Senior-Specific Preferences

43. Senior-related housing was purchased at a share of 8% by buyers 54 – 63, 16% by buyers 64 – 72 and 29% by buyers 73 – 93+.” (NAR, 2019)

44. When looking at neighborhood choices, seniors 64 – 72 reported the quality of the neighborhood to be the most important while those 73 – 93 years old reported convenience to friends and family to be the most important. (NAR, 2019)

45. The top three factors that could cause buyers 64 and older to move are a household member’s health, life changes or that they are "never moving," their current home is their forever home. (NAR, 2019)

Millennial Home Buying Stats

“Millennials made up the largest share of home buyers at 37%.” (NAR, 2019)

Millennials are often dragged in the media, sometimes with claims of choosing avocado toast over purchasing a home. This has been debunked. We’ve been shown that millennials are serious buyers who want to grow their wealth and be happy in their own property – just as much as other generations. We wanted to round up some stats on this important buyer and seller market segment.

46. The top reason reported for purchasing a new home was to avoid renovations or issues with plumbing or electricity – this was listed by 38% of all buyers and 74% of those 28 and younger. (NAR, 2019)

47. Those 28 and younger purchased homes with a median price of $177,000. (NAR, 2019)

48. Buyers aged 29 – 38 had an average median home purchase price of $274,000. (NAR, 2019)

49. Millennials made up the largest share of home buyers at 37% in 2019. (NAR, 2019)

50. 62% of buyers 38 and younger found the home they bought on the internet. (NAR, 2019)

51. In 2020, millennials are also more likely to believe that they will live in their dream home at some point in their life. Other age groups are not as hopeful:

  • Millennials: 81%
  • Gen Xers: 75%
  • Boomers: 67%

52. 58% of people under the age of 28 rented before purchasing a home. For those aged 29 – 38, 48% rented before purchasing in 2019. (NAR, 2019)

53. Of buyers 38 years and younger, 39% reported that commuting costs were very important. (NAR, 2019)

54. About 63% of millennials reported they purchased a new home to avoid renovations or plumbing/electricity issues. (NAR, 2019)

55. 42% of those 28 and younger considered buying a home in foreclosure and 38% of those 29 – 38 considered the option. (NAR, 2019)

56. A majority (54%) of millennials say living close to bars and nightlife is important; those numbers drop slightly for Gen Xers (46%) and boomers (34%). (Coldwell Banker, 2020)

57. Millennials reported that commuting costs were the most important of environmentally friendly home features, followed by heating and cooling costs and insulation. (NAR, 2019)

58. The top three factors that could cause buyers 28 and younger to move are life changes, career changes and wanting a larger home. (NAR, 2019)

Mortgage Statistics

Your mortgage will have a big impact on your future financial situation. Selecting the right mortgage is a crucial part of the home buying process – things like getting preapproved or having a great credit score can help you finance the home of your dreams.

See a couple of highlights from the following mortgage statistics:

  • The total number of closed-end mortgage originations increased from 6.4 million (2018) to 8.1 million (2019) – an increase of 26%. (HMDA, 2019)

  • Paying down debt is the No. 1 reason some Americans struggle to afford their first home, cited by 26% of home buyers. (Coldwell Banker, 2020)

  • The median monthly mortgage payment was $1,566 in 2018. (S. Census Bureau, 2018)

  • When looking at new, approved, noncommercial mortgages, the average credit score was 731.6 in 2019. (FHFA, 2019)

Mortgage Figures And Stats

“The median mortgage payment was $1,566 in 2018.” (U.S. Census Bureau, 2018)

Below we look at some different aspects of mortgages including origination rates, types of home loans and the popularity of different types of mortgages. 

59. The number of closed-end originations in 2019 increased by 26%, from 6.4 million in 2018 to 8.1 million in 2019. (HMDA, 2019)

60. The number of home improvement loans secured by dwellings declined slightly from 183,000 in 2018 to 174,000 in 2019. (HMDA, 2019)

61. Over a 5-year period, the total yearly mortgage origination volume showed growth of 32% from April 2014 (479,506) to April 2019 (630,411), a 3% growth was observed from April 2018. (610,271). (Consumer Finance, 2019)

62. When looking at mortgage market shares in 2019, FHA loans made up 16.7% of the home purchases compared to 18.3% in 2014 – for refinancing that figure is 10.9%, compared to 7.9% in 2014. (Federal Housing Administration, 2020)

63. FHA/VA mortgage loans make up about 20% of the market. (JCHS of Harvard University, 2020)

64. In 2019, approximately 7% of home-purchase loans went to Black borrowers, up from 6.7% in 2018. 60.3% went to non-Hispanic white borrowers, down slightly from 62%. (HMDA, 2019)

65. Asian borrowers increased their share of refinance loans for a first-lien, one-to-four-family, owner-occupied, site-built properties from 3.7% to 5.4% in 2019. (HMDA, 2019)

66. The median mortgage payment was $1,566 in 2018. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2018)

Mortgage Rate Stats

Mortgage rates have been hitting all-time lows in recent months. Some people have been able to take advantage of the opportunity and secure a historically low rate. Since rates change all the time, you should use a mortgage rate tool to track their movements. See top stats and historic Freddie Mac rate averages below:

67. In Q1 of 2020, the average 30-year fixed-rate was 3.52% compared to 4.37% during the same time in 2019 – average 15-year fixed-rate interest is down from 3.81% to 3.00%, respectively. (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)), 2020)

68. 30-year mortgage rates hit their all-time high (since 1971) at 18.45% in October 1981. (Freddie Mac, 2020)

69. See annual average 30-year mortgage rates over the past 20 years (according to Freddie Mac):

 

30-Year Mortgage Rates

Year

Annual Average

Year

Annual Average

2000

8.05%

2010

4.69%

2001

6.97%

2011

4.45%

2002

6.54%

2012

3.66%

2003

5.83%

2013

3.98%

2004

5.84%

2014

4.17%

2005

5.87%

2015

3.85%

2006

6.41%

2016

3.65%

2007

6.34%

2017

3.99%

2008

6.03%

2018

4.54%

2009

5.04%

2019

3.94%

 

70. The running average annual  30-year mortgage rate for 2020 is 3.37% as of June 2020. (Freddie Mac, 2020)

71. See annual average 15-year mortgage rates over the past 20 years (according to Freddie Mac):

 

15-Year Mortgage Rates

Year

Annual Average

Year

Annual Average

2000

7.72%

2010

4.10%

2001

6.50%

2011

3.70%

2002

5.98%

2012

2.93%

2003

5.17%

2013

3.11%

2004

5.21%

2014

3.29%

2005

5.42%

2015

3.09%

2006

6.07%

2016

2.93%

2007

6.03%

2017

3.28%

2008

5.62%

2018

4.00%

2009

4.57%

2019

3.39%

 

72. The running average annual  15-year mortgage rate for 2020 is 2.84% as of June 2020. (Freddie Mac, 2020)

73. Surprisingly, house prices – which are a key determinant of mortgage credit quality – have not softened, and are still rising at about the 5% rate as of April 2020. (JCHS of Harvard University, 2020)

Mortgage Denial Rates And Acceptance Rates

Graph looking at mortgage denial rates across race

In addition to mortgage rates, we wanted to look into mortgage denials and acceptances as well as average loan sizes and credit scores. See some stats and charts below:

74. The denial rate for refinance loans decreased between 2018 and 2019 by 33.8%, compared with a 10% decrease for home-purchase loans. (HMDA, 2019)

75. The table below shows the breakdown of mortgage application denials by race as recorded by the 2017 FFIEC Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

 

Race

Total Applications

Total Denied

Denial Rate

Native American

17,711

4,748

26.8%

Black

190,552

4,8201

25.3%

Latino

318,213

55,609

17.5%

Hawaiian

10,410

1,385

13.3%

White

2,955,150

30,5618

10.3%

Asian

313,472

27,946

8.9%

 

76. When looking at new, approved, non-commercial mortgages, the average credit score was 731.6 in 2019. (FHFA, 2019)

77. For those with a credit score under 600, their share of the total new mortgages was only 6.5% in 2019. (FHFA, 2019)

78. The average loan-to-value ratio was 69.3% in 2019 for nonenterprise mortgages. (FHFA, 2019)

79. The average property value was $251,700 in 2019 and the average purchase price was also $251,700. (FHFA, 2019)

80. In 2019, the average mortgage loan amount was $184,700. (FHFA, 2019)

Mortgage Debt Statistics

“4.36% of mortgages are past due as of Q1 2020.”

Debt related to housing is the largest category of American debt, in front of other loans like auto, student and credit card loans. When lenders evaluate a potential mortgage recipient, they look closely at your debt-to-income ratio, so it’s very important to stay on top of your debt. 

81. In 2019, mortgage debt hit $9.406 trillion. The previous recorded high was $9.296 trillion in 2008. (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

82. There was $662 billion in newly originated mortgage debt in 2020 Q1, compared to $344 billion in 2019 Q1. (Center for Microeconomic Data, 2020)

83. Paying down debt is the No. 1 reason some Americans struggle to afford their first home. Among those who have purchased a home, 26% cite this as the main reason they struggled to afford their first home, just 6% say spending on luxury items, just 5% say dining out at restaurants and just 5% say travel. (Coldwell Banker, 2020)

84. According to HUD’s quarterly report, delinquency rates for Q1 2020 are as follows:

  • All loans past due: 4.36%
  • 90+ days past due: 0.93%
  • Seriously delinquent: 1.67%

All delinquency rates decreased when compared to Q1 2019.

85. About 189,000 consumers had a bankruptcy notation added to their credit reports in 2020 Q1, a small decrease from the 192,000 seen in 2019 Q1. (Center for Microeconomic Data, 2020)

86. In Q1 2020, 0.9% of current mortgage balances became 30 or more days delinquent. (Center for Microeconomic Data, 2020)

87. Around 75,000 people had a new foreclosure added to their credit reports between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2020 – compared to 71,000 people during the same time frame in 2019. (Center for Microeconomic Data, 2020)

Home Buying And Mortgage Loan Q&A

Mortgages and home buying can be confusing (but they don’t have to be with a Home Loan Expert on your side). See some of the most asked home buying questions and their answers below:

Which Age Group Buys The Most Houses?

Millennials were the largest home-buying age group in 2019 – they made up 37% of the total home buyers. (NAR, 2019)

What Percent Of Home Buyers Start Their Search Online?

44% of home buyers started their search online in 2019 and 50% of all buyers found their home through the internet, though it wasn’t necessarily their first step. (NAR, 2019)

How Many Mortgage Originations Are There In A Year?

The number of closed-end originations in 2019 was 8.1 million (an increase of 26%), from 6.4 million in 2018. (HMDA, 2019)

What Is The Average Mortgage In The US?

The median mortgage payment is $1,566 per month. (US Census Bureau, 2018)

How Many Americans Have A Mortgage?

The census estimates that 48,126,102 Americans had a mortgage in 2018. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2018)

What does homeownership look like in 2020? Infographic.

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