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Home Buyers and Sellers Survey Shows Lingering Impact of Tight Credit

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Fourteen percent of all survey respondents were multi-generational households, including adult children, parents and/or grandparents. “We don’t have historic comparisons for this finding, but added the question to this year’s study because we’ve been hearing more about this trend from our REALTOR® members,” Yun explains. “It’s another manifestation of the difficulty in obtaining a mortgage, in addition to slow growth in good paying jobs.”

First-time home buyers* slipped to a 38 percent market share in the past year from 39 percent in the 2012 study. The long-term average in this survey, dating back to 1981, shows that four out of 10 purchases are first-time buyers. “The share of first-time buyers appears to be only modestly below normal, but we have to keep in mind that investors have been more active in recent years, and they’re not included in these results,” Yun says. “Historically, first-time buyers are instrumental in housing recoveries because they help existing home owners sell and make a trade.”

The median age of first-time buyers was 31, unchanged from 2012, and the median income was $67,400. The typical first-time buyer purchased a 1,670 square-foot home costing $170,000, while the typical repeat buyer was 52 years old and earned $96,000. Repeat buyers purchased a median 2,060-square foot home costing $240,000.

When asked about the primary reason for purchasing, 60 percent of first-time buyers cited a desire to own a home of their own. For repeat buyers, 16 percent wanted a larger home, 12 percent had a job-related move and another 12 percent said they just wanted to own a home of their own. Responses for other reasons were in the single digits.

Nearly nine out of 10 buyers financed their purchase. The median downpayment ranged from 5 percent for first-time buyers to 14 percent for repeat buyers.

First-time buyers used a variety of resources for the loan downpayment: 78 percent tapped into savings; 27 percent received a gift from a friend or relative, usually from their parents; and 7 percent received a loan from a relative or friend. Nine percent sold stocks or bonds and 8 percent tapped into a 401(k) fund. Among entry-level buyers who said that saving for a downpayment was difficult, 54 percent said student loan expenses delayed savings.

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