The 2009-2010 Survey of California Home Sellers
Report is a detailed account of seller behavior. It covers their
reasons for selling, their experience with various aspects of the
transaction, their relationship with their agents and much more.
Distress resonated among California homeowners who sold their home in 2009.
According to results from the 2009 Survey of California Home Sellers,
trouble making mortgage payments, job losses, and increases in monthly
mortgage payments played significant roles in sellers’ decisions to sell
their homes in 2009.
• Nearly three-quarters of all sellers in California sold as a
result of financial difficulties. Job and
income uncertainty led nearly 20 percent of sellers
to sell. Fifteen percent of sellers reported
they needed to sell their home as a result of their
mortgage payment increasing, compared with
16 percent in 2008, and 5 percent in 2007.
• The current mortgage loan environment played a prominent role
in homeowners’ being concerned
about their ability to sell: tighter lending
standards and higher down payments contributed to the
worries. Buyers’ ability to secure a loan
was one of the top three concerns among sellers this
year. For 74 percent of respondents, this was
among the most worrisome components of the
home selling process.
• Nearly half of all sellers owned the home for two
years or less, compared with only one-third in
2008, and almost two-thirds (59 percent) of
those sellers were first-time sellers, compared with
only one-third (33 percent in) 2008.
• While only 7.5 percent of sellers reported they had a
fixed-rate mortgage (FRM), 92.5 percent
reported they had an adjustable rate
mortgage (ARM)—a two-year fixed, a three-year fixed, a
five-year fixed, or negative
• Fifty-four percent of sellers interviewed more
than five real estate agents before selecting the
one they worked with, compared to 50 percent
last year, and 21 percent in 2007.
• Close to two-thirds (64 percent) of all sellers
sold their home with an agent other than the agent
with whom they initially listed the
• More than one out of three (34 percent)
sellers moved out of California in 2009, compared to
23 percent in 2008.
• The number of first time home sellers increased
to 44 percent of all sellers, compared with 33
percent in 2008.
• The largest age cohort of sellers ranged between
35 and 44 years (38 percent), with a slight
decrease from 45 percent in 2008. The
average age of sellers was 39 (the median was 37),
with ages ranging from 23 to 62.
• Sellers under 40 made up of 61 percent of
the seller population, outpacing baby boomers,
who consisted of 22 percent of sellers