Did you know that 50 percent of all recent home sales were to first-time buyers, an increase from 47 percent in 2009? Or how about the fact that 88 percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home?

The 2010 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers offers a peek inside the home buying and selling patterns of today’s consumers. It also affirms the value of long-term homeownership.

The survey found that even with recent price declines, the typical seller who had lived in their home eight years saw a median equity gain of 24 percent, while sellers who had lived in their homes 11 to 15 years experienced a gain of 40 percent.

The survey also showed the value of working with a REALTOR®. Eighty-three percent of buyers used a real estate agent or broker to purchase their home. When it comes to sellers, 84 percent said they would use that real estate agent again or recommend to others.

Other interesting highlights from the survey:

  • 71 percent of all homebuyers and 92 percent of first-time buyers used the homebuyer tax credit during their home purchase.
  • The typical first-time homebuyer was 30 years old, while the typical repeat buyer was 49 years old.
  • 57 percent of sellers reported they reduced the asking price at least once.
  • The share of home sellers who sold their home without the assistance of a real estate agent was 9 percent down from 11 percent in 2009. The share of homes sold without professional representation has trended down since reaching a cyclical peak of 18 percent in 1997.
  • 89 percent of buyers searched for a home on the Internet. For more than one-third of home buyers, the first step in the home-buying process was looking online for properties.