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28 Stats That Sum Up the American Housing Market

by | Mar 29, 2020 | Real Estate

See the numbers behind how Americans rent, buy, sell and even think about home.

Both renters and buyers face challenges in finding a place to call home, and the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017 is a deep dive into understanding them.

We surveyed over 13,000 people to determine how Americans rent, buy, sell and think about real estate. Below, we break down some of the most surprising results.


More Americans are renting today than in recent decades — some by choice and some simply due to market conditions.

Thirty-seven percent of American households are renters — about 43.7 million homes — which is an increase of 6.9 million homes since 2005.

While part of this increase is due to the 8 million homes lost to foreclosure during the recession, renters today also prize the maintenance-free and flexible lifestyle renting offers.

  • Renters skew younger — the median age of the typical renter is 32 years old.
  • Renters represent a more diverse population — 55 percent are white, 19 percent are African-American/black, 17 percent are Hispanic, 7 percent are Asian/Pacific Islander and 3 percent identify as another ethnicity.
  • Nearly half of renters are single, including a third who have never married.
  • Although the majority of renters are single, 78 percent live with others — most often this is another family member.
  • The median rent across the U.S. is $1,010, with the highest rents in the West and the lowest rents in the Midwest.
  • Renting can be expensive: 79 percent of renters who moved in the past year had a rent increase.
  • More than half of renters (57 percent) said a rent increase influenced their decision to move, and 37 percent of renters who aren’t moving say it’s because they can’t afford to.


Buying is tough in all markets. For most Americans, it’s the biggest purchase they’ll ever make and an investment they’ll tap into as part of retirement.

In particular cities, purchasing a home has become a competitive game, complete with bidding wars and offer negotiations. It makes sense that most buyers rely on agents to help them through the process.

  • Today’s buyers have a median age of 40, although the majority (71 percent) of first-time buyers are millennials.
  • The median household income of the typical buyer is $87,500, and most buyers are married or partnered, relying on two incomes to purchase a home.
  • The typical purchased home in the U.S. costs $200,000 and has 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms and 1,800 square feet.
  • More than anything, buyers want their home to be in a safe neighborhood (71 percent) and in their price range (67 percent).
  • Other than safety, buyers also want to stay cool — 62 percent of buyers require their homes to have air conditioning.
  • Buyers take an average of 4.3 months to search for their new home — although millennials take just under four months (3.9 months), and silent generation buyers take 5.6 months.
  • The suburbs rule — 49 percent of buyers buy there, followed by 31 percent who buy in urban locations and just 19 percent who purchase in rural regions.


Although some hot markets have favorable conditions for sellers, selling is still rarely an easy process.

Sellers have two main goals when they list their homes: sell their home in their preferred time frame and for their desired price. Balancing the two is a delicate dance, and most sellers are also buyers searching for a new home.

  • The median age of sellers is 45, although millennials make up nearly one-third of todays’ sellers.
  • Sellers have a higher median income than homeowners at $87,500.
  • The typical seller has lived in their home for 12 years.
  • Most sellers are selling for the first time (61 percent) and looking to buy at the same time (71 percent).
  • 76 percent of sellers have to make at least one concession to sell their home — and most often it’s a price reduction.
  • 1 in 2 sellers sell their home for less than the original listing price.


Owning a home is a lot of work. It’s also a great investment, especially in many of today’s markets where annual appreciation rates are higher than they’ve been in decades.

  • Homeowners are the oldest, with a median age of 57 years.
  • 14 percent of homeowners are millennials.
  • Homeowners have a median household income of $62,500, and 71 percent live with a spouse or partner.
  • 40 percent of homeowners have a pet (with dogs ranking in top at 30 percent).
  • Almost half of homeowners (46 percent) live in the first home they purchased, although this percentage decreases with age.
  • 86 percent of homeowners have no plan to sell in the next three years.
  • Less than a quarter of homeowners say their home is in “like-new” condition, and more than 60 percent say their home could use a little updating.
  • On homeowners’ to-do list for the next year: painting the interior (25 percent), improving the bathroom (22 percent) and landscaping (21 percent).

Learn more about today’s renters, buyers, sellers and homeowners in the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017.

 Top featured photo from Shutterstock.


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An accomplished real estate professional with a distinguished track record of success.  She has spent over 17 years in Atlanta representing buyers and sellers of $1M+ properties and is a tremendous negotiator.  Micki has a unique knack for forming close and authentic relationships with her clients; she steps beyond the real estate transaction and provide them with after care.  Micki has unparalleled marketplace knowledge and thrives on being resourceful; she studies and follows the data beyond the average agent.



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