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Why the Housing Market Can’t Move On Without More First-Time Homebuyers

Writing for U.S. News & World Report, Jason Gold argues why the housing market needs more first-time homebuyers:

Home values are now increasing nationwide. While that’s certainly better than the alternative, a deeper dive into the data reveals a serious crack in the foundation: too few first-time homebuyers.

First-time homebuyers are the vital first rung on the home ownership ladder. They are usually buying from a seller who is “trading up” to a more expensive home or building a new one. When potential new buyers sit on the sidelines, existing homeowners are stuck, unable to move out and up.

In October, the first-time buyer’s share of the purchase market stood at about 35 percent according to the Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Survey. That’s down from 37 percent as recently as June and it’s the lowest percentage recorded in the survey’s history. Typically, a healthy housing market sees first-time homebuyers occupy around 40 percent of the purchase market.

The survey results also revealed that first-time homebuyers heavily relied on the Federal Housing Administration for financing, thanks to its low down-payment requirement of 3.5 percent. With the FHA’s recent announcement that it will tighten credit standards, first-time homebuyers will see the barrier to homeownership grow even more.

Read the entire piece at U.S. News & World Report.


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