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Issue Date: July 2006 Issue


By the Numbers

A look at the figures behind home sales in the United States:  What we're buying, how much we're paying for it and what it says about how we live.


Joanna Bello

The Big Picture
• New home sales reached a record high of 974,000 in 2002.
• The average annual sale price for a new home in 2005 was $292,300.
• The median average sale price for a new home in 2005 was $237,300.
• There were 7,072,000 homes sold in the U.S. in 2005.
• Atlanta topped the 2005 list of Top 50 metropolitan areas for single-family homes. Columbus was No. 38 on the list.
(Source: National Association of Home Builders)

• The most expensive place in the United States to buy a house is the San Francisco metropolitan area, where the median home costs $835,000.
(Source: Fiserv Lending Solutions)

• The most expensive home on the market in the United States is Donald Trump’s home in Palm Beach, Fla., which is being offered for $125 million.
(Source: Forbes.com)

Features and Upgrades
• In 2004, 30 percent of new homes were 2,400 square feet or larger with 52 percent of new homes having two stories.
• In 2004, 90 percent of new homes had air conditioning, four percent had more than one fireplace, 19 percent had a three-car garage and 24 percent had three or more bathrooms.
• Americans spent just less than $500 million remodeling their homes in 2004.
(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
• Today, the average luxury remodeled kitchen costs $57,000, which is $48,000 more than it would have cost in 1950.
(Boston Consulting Group’s “The New Luxury: Why the Middle Market American Consumer Wants Premium Goods and How Companies Create Them.”)

Who’s Buying What
• The U.S. home-ownership rate is now approaching 70 percent, which is up from 65 percent a decade ago, while the household wealth attributable to real estate ownership has increased by more than 50 percent since mid-2001.
• The National Association of Realtors expects the national median price for existing homes to rise 5.7 percent this year.
• Between 2000 and 2005, existing-home prices rose by more than 50 percent.
• A 2006 National Association of Realtors survey of homebuyers found 15 percent of buyers owned two or more homes.
• Those who have vacation homes reported a median income of $120,600 in 2005, while the median income of investment property owners was $98,600.
• According to recent purchase trends, the median home size is 1,727 square feet. Median home size among first-time buyers is 1,451 square feet and 1,920 square feet for repeat buyers. Custom-built homes are larger, with a median size of 2,186 square feet.
• Recent purchase trends show homes in the South were larger compared to homes in the Northeast, the Midwest and the West.
• Buyers between 18- and 44-years-old more frequently buy homes in the suburbs or subdivisions compared to older buyers.
(Source: National Association of Realtors)

Compiled by Joanna Bello


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