Who’s Buying Houses Now?

2 12 2006

Despite low mortgage interest rates, a smaller percentage of first-time homebuyers are entering the market, according to an annual profile of buyers and sellers just released by the National Association of Realtors.

During the year ending in June, 36% of all buyers who purchased a home were first-time buyers. That’s down from 40% a year ago. Part of the reason for the declining share of first-time homeowners: Declining affordability for those entering the market after the housing boom of the past couple of years bumped up home prices, said David Lereah, the NAR’s chief economist. A greater number of second-home sales also may have contributed to a lower percentage of first-time buyers overall.

The percentage of single female homebuyers, however, inched up in the survey to its highest level on record. Twenty-two percent of all homebuyers were female and on their own, up from 21% a year ago and up from 14% in 1995. In comparison, single males accounted for 9% of homebuyers, unchanged from last year.

Existing-home sales in the South slipped 1.2 percent to an annual sales rate of 2.49 million in October, down 8.8 percent from the same period a year ago. The median price in the South was $185,000, down 7 percent from a spike in October 2005.

Source: www.realtor.org

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