By Gino Blefari
President & CEO
Intero Real Estate Services, Inc.
We’re just a few baby steps into the recovery. Interest rates are still unbelievably low. And markets are either saturated in foreclosures and underwater borrowers (though this is improving) or have emaciated inventories.
Regardless of which end of the spectrum your market is in right now, first-time buyers are an essential part of the housing market ecosystem. They fuel the move-up market, and create legions of homeowners who instantly become more vested in the communities they live in.
What does today’s first-time home buyer look like?
Doorsteps recently published an infographic offering a glimpse, based on data from the National Association of Realtors and a report on Millennials. Here’s what they found:
- 55% are married couples, 19% are single females, 14% are unmarried couples, and 11% are single males.
- The average age is 31. And average income is $61,800.
- Location is more important to these buyers than the size of the house. They are more likely to compromise on condition and style of home than they are on distance to their job, a great neighborhood and great schools.
- 96% will use a mortgage to buy a house; 76% will use their savings to pay for the downpayment.
- 65% say they would consider buying a foreclosure property.
While none of this comes across as shocking, it’s interesting to be able to better picture a typical first-time home buyer today. We tend to hear a lot in the media about how our younger generations are saddled with education debt, striking out on the job front and just not that interested – or ready – to buy a home.
That may be true to a large extent, but I’ve said time and again that I don’t think it’s an issue of values and not wanting to become homeowners. It’s more an issue of circumstance.
The underlying fundamentals of first-time buyers are still basically the same they’ve always been. The average age has crept up a bit, but we’re still seeing young couples and more single women.
It’s important, though, that this segment of buyer continue to get a chance and encouragement to get into the housing market. After all, these are the buyers that one day will fuel the move-up market. We must find ways to afford them the opportunity.