30+ Key Real Estate Statistics for 2020

Billions of dollars are invested into real estate annually — this article facilitates a deeper understanding of the market, through key real estate statistics, concerning housing market values, price trends, house prices by state, and more.

Real estate generally entails several types of properties, including land, buildings, houses, apartments, alongside natural resources such as water, mineral deposits, and flora and fauna. From an investment perspective, real estate is a tangible asset usually worth a considerable sum of money, according to real estate statistics.

Due to the sheer size of the housing market, this article will focus on highlighting several key stats, concerning an array of topics, such as the current size of the real estate market, housing prices in the US (and around the globe), real estate trends, statistics about realtors, etc. 

Want to find out more? Just keep on reading!

5 Most Fascinating Housing Statistics — Editor’s Choice:

  • According to Zillow, the value of all US-based homes and real estate was estimated at $31.8 trillion in 2017.
  • The average sale price for US-based homes was approximately $323,100.
  • In 2018, at least 44% of US-based home buyers used the internet to look up potential properties, whereas 90% of real estate businesses list their properties online.
  • The US Census Bureau estimates that around 561,000 houses were sold in 2016, followed by 617,000 in 2018.
  • Approximately 87.9% of housing units available on the market were occupied during the first quarter of 2019.

Current Real Estate Market Size

  1. According to Zillow, the value of all US-based homes was estimated at $31.8 trillion in 2017

This stat deals solely with housing units; office space and business complexes are not included. In 2018, the value of US homes reached a whopping $33.3 trillion. Currently, there is no accurate data on the size of the global housing market since numerous states do not track housing market values. 

Source: Zillow 

  1. According to MSCI, the global real estate investment market was worth $8.9 trillion in 2018

This data entails properties that are professionally-managed and are part of the worldwide real estate investment market. Thus, personal properties such as housing units are not included in this estimate. A $0.4 trillion increase was recorded between 2017 and 2018; meaning, the market has surely surpassed the $9–10 trillion threshold by now, according to housing statistics. 

Source: MSCI

  1. The US has the largest global real estate market share

Nations with a significant real estate market value include Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, and France. Nevertheless, the US market remains considerably larger when compared to other nations — according to the MSCI, the US real estate market size was at least 3.5 times bigger than that of Japan, which currently takes second place. 

Source: MSCI

Real Estate Statistics in the US

  1. According to the University of Michigan, the number of housing units increased by 13.6% between 2000 and 2010 

Since then, massive real estate investments have likely led to an even higher increase in the number of new housing units. 

Source: University of Michigan 

  1. In a recently-published report, the US Census Bureau estimated that there were 138.53 million housing units available during 2018, according to real estate stats

It’s worth pointing out that the overall US population (as of May 2019) was estimated at 327.6 million, which roughly translates to about 2.3 people living in each housing unit on average.

Source: US Census Bureau 

  1. Between 2013 and 2017, approximately 63.8% of housing units were occupied by their lawful owner, as reported by a vast number of recent real estate market statistics 

In other words, this means that as much as 36% of all housing units are either left empty, are being rented, or are occupied by friends and relatives. 

Source: US Census Bureau 

  1. Approximately 2.4% of housing units located in the US are available for rent, as reported by the US Census Bureau

This refers to residential renting only and is quite surprising judging how it is generally believed that considerably more people go on to rent their homes. Of course, this real estate data percentage is based on the number of people who actually reported that they were renting out their properties; meaning, the actual figures could be a lot higher. 

Source: US Census Bureau 

  1. The commercial real estate vacancy rates have actively dropped between 2010 and 2018

Both office and business space are in high demand. As a result, the national economy is flourishing. Of course, vacancies still exist, yet increased demand also leads to higher rental prices, as pointed out by real estate market reports. 

Source: National Association of Realtors

  1. In 2018, hotel vacancies ranked highest (14.7%) of all commercial real estate properties, according to the following table:
Office vacancy Industrial vacancy Retail vacancy Multifamily vacancy Hotel vacancy
12.9% 6.8% 12.6% 6.2% 14.7%

Source: National Association of Realtors

  1. A research effort has concluded that, since the first quarter of 2010, industrial property prices have increased by at least 75%

This NAR statistic once again suggests that the US economy is prospering, seeing how real estate investors can afford to charge higher prices for industrial spaces, thanks to the increased demand.

Source: National Association of Realtors

  1. When purchasing a commercial property, the average loan rate fluctuated between 5% and 7%, with a term of 10 years 

Thus, commercial property buyers can afford considerably shorter loan terms, as opposed to individuals who purchase residential homes. 

Source: National Association of Realtors

  1. In 2018, at least 44% of US-based home buyers used the internet to look up potential properties 

This illustrates that the real estate market is not lagging behind when it comes to digitalization; back in 1981, roughly 22% of US homebuyers relied on newspapers to look for available properties. 

Source: NAR

  1. Over 90% of US-based real estate businesses own a website where properties are listed, as reported by US housing statistics

In general, property listings include details such as the size, structure, capacity, location, and price of the home. Pictures are also a must to ensure a successful purchase. Essentially, it’s the same case throughout the world, as digital advertising provides a solid boost when it comes to the interest of a specific property. 

Source: NAR

  1. The digitalization of the real estate industry will bring around $12.89 billion to management software companies by 2025, as reported by housing market data

This makes perfect sense as the number of properties being sold or rented is bound to increase over the next few years. In short, real estate management software can make renting, selling, and purchasing housing units a lot simpler (and faster).  

Source: Adroit

  1. 58% of Millennials and 46% of Gen Xers who recently purchased a home found one via a mobile device, recent real estate market data shows

This just goes on to show that mobile devices now play an important role in the process of searching, identifying, and selecting properties of interest. Real estate agencies and individual sellers should make sure that their listings are available online, on multiple platforms. Hence, it’s no surprise that around 85% of residential companies use more than one listing software.

Source: NAR

US Housing Statistics

  1. An average of 650,000 housing units were sold every year, between 1963 and 2019

The record for the highest number of homes sold in one year was back in 2005 when 1.3 million housing units were sold. 

Source: Trading Economics

  1. The US Census Bureau estimates that around 561,000 houses were sold in 2016, followed by 617,000 in 2018 according to housing data

Real estate sales numbers tend to vary from year to year. Predicting how well this market will perform is a difficult endeavor — hence why many real estate investors focus on low-risk and long-term investments, rather than high-risk or short-term ones. 

Source: US Census Bureau

  1. According to the US Census Bureau, non-Hispanic whites are topping the charts when it comes to homeownership

Recent housing sales data shows that 64.2% of non-Hispanic whites own a home in the US, followed by 56.9% of native Hawaiians and Asian Americans, 47.4% of Hispanics, and just 41.1% of African-Americans.

 Source: US Census Bureau

  1. Roughly 87.9% of housing units available on the market were occupied during the first quarter of 2019

In fact, this is an exceptional occupancy rate, especially when considering housing sales prices. Thus, the rate indicates that real estate investments remain fairly safe. What’s more, occupation rates may have further increased since Q1 2019, considering the upward trend. 

Source: US Census Bureau

  1. Between 1970 and 2017, the average size of the US-based house has increased by 73%

This also led to an overall increase in housing prices, making it more difficult for US citizens to pay their mortgage. Similarly, this led to an increase in energy consumption. 

Source: US Census Bureau

  1. In 2017, the average sale price for US-based homes was approximately $323,100, according to the US Census Bureau 

It’s worth noting that US-based houses are costlier when compared to housing units in other parts of the world. Some estimates even suggest that the average US price is 3 times higher when compared to prices in Europe, for example. Of course, we are not referring to municipality-downtown housing units, which cost significantly higher, according to housing reports

Source: US Census Bureau

  1. Back in 2016, the average US home was sold for roughly $307,800

These rising trends will affect many an American, particularly in the sphere of mortgages, which will become more difficult to pay off. Similarly, many people will have to settle for less in terms of house size, finishes, and available land. At the moment, current housing prices by state show that the average cost has risen above the $310,000 mark in most regions of the US.

Source: US Census Bureau

  1. Overall, the selling price for apartments has increased by approximately 147% when compared to the first quarter of 2010

Therefore, housing prices are not only increasing for full-sized homes, but rather for building-based apartments as well. This has also led to an increase in monthly rent figures, as revealed by housing market trends by zip code. 

Source: NAR

  1. Currently, the highest median rent average for one-bedroom apartments is reported in San Mateo, California

In this city, renters can expect to pay $3,551 for one-bedroom apartments and $4,461 for two-bedroom apartments. Honorary mentions include Ladera Ranch, Pacifica, Coronado, San Ramon, and Fremont. State-wise, California and New York feature the highest rent prices out of all US states, according to median home prices by state. 

Source: Apartment List Rentonomics

  1. Speaking of rent, renters should expect to pay a monthly average of $959 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,190 for two-bedroom apartments 

This stat refers to the national median; therefore, it is not a mean average. Therefore, in bigger cities (especially those with densely populated areas and large commercial centers), the monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment can easily exceed $3,000 monthly, illustrating that real estate statistics by city can vary quite a lot actually. 

Source: Apartment List Rentonomics

  1. The fastest yearly rent growth has occurred in Phoenix and Las Vegas, with an increase of 5.1% in monthly rent prices

Other cities with rising rental prices include Austin, Dallas, Henderson, Mesa, and Colorado Springs. On the other hand, in regions with historically high costs of rent, the prices have fluctuated far less.

Source: Apartment List Rentonomics

  1. In terms of home sales by month, in 2019, statistics indicate that the highest number of existing home sales was reported in February, August, and December

Up to 5.54 million units were sold during the month of December when the highest number of sales was recorded. Likewise, the lowest number of homes was sold in March and April.

Source: Trading Economics 

  1. In 2016, reports indicate that fewer than 5,000 homes were sold for a price under the $125,000 mark 

Therefore, Americans can, in fact, pay around $125,000 for a house; yet, at this price tag, you will most likely be located in a less ideal location and may even have to dish out several repairs. 

Source: US Census Bureau

Realtor Statistics 

  1. Currently, it is estimated that around 93% of realtors prefer to communicate either via email or mobile phone 

Fewer and fewer realtors enjoy meeting potential customers in person; to no great surprise as such meetings can take up a considerable amount of time. Face-to-face meetings are mostly done when viewing potential properties and signing contracts. 92% of realtors on the current real estate market exclusively prefer text messages.  

Source: NAR

  1. Despite the rising popularity of instant messaging platforms, only 37% of realtors prefer using instant messaging apps to speak to their customers 

This is likely due to the fact that instant messaging apps generally entail that users respond quickly and accurately. 

Source: NAR

  1. Currently, market reports indicate that there are over 86,000 active and licensed real estate brokerage firms in the US

This housing market statistic tells us that, from an employment standpoint, real estate-related jobs are still available and in demand, whereas the pay is above-average — paid in the form of commissions offered to brokers. This statement is based on the fact that millions of properties are sold and rented yearly. 

Source: NAR

  1. As of July 2019, there were 1.38 million members in the National Association of Realtors

Similarly, a total of 1,148 local associations were reported in January 2019. Most of these realtors are sales agents (68%), whereas 20% are brokers and 14% are associate brokers. 

Source: NAR

Bottom Line

The real estate market continues to offer considerable investment opportunities for people throughout the world, as our real estate statistics reveal. In the US, the market shows no signs of slowing down (anytime soon), despite the growing rental and purchase prices affecting the life quality of thousands of Americans.

Last but not least, we hope that we managed to paint a clearer picture of the market and its sheer size. Our belief is that most real estate investments are generally safe at this point in time.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What percent of home buyers use the internet in 2019?

Reports suggest that at least 44% of US-based real estate buyers use the internet in order to look up potential properties available for sale. This does not mean that only 44% of home buyers use the internet altogether — rather, many prefer to directly contact real estate agents, or know of available properties from friends, family or co-workers. According to digital real estate market data, it is estimated that an average of 93% of home buyers are internet users.

2. How many real estate transactions were there in 2018?

Over 5.34 million real estate transactions concerning existing homes took place in 2018. In terms of newly-constructed properties, the US Census Bureau estimates 667,000 sales for the year of 2018. The sale of existing properties is 8 times higher when compared to new homes, as indicated by our housing statistics.

3. How much was the real estate industry worth in 2018?

The US real estate housing market was estimated at $33.3 trillion back in 2018. This number includes most of the existing and newly-built properties in the US. The industry’s size has increased by over 6.2% compared to 2012, when numbers dropped significantly due to the housing market crash, as reported by our real estate statistics.

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