The overall market share of single buyers declined from 32 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in both 2012 and 2013. First-time home buyers slipped to a 38 percent market share in the past year from 39 percent in a preview of NAR’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
“Single home buyers have been suppressed for the past three years by restrictive mortgage lending standards, which favor dual-income households who are more likely to have higher credit scores,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. He added that “historically, first-time buyers are instrumental in housing recoveries because they help existing home owners sell and make a trade.”
While many potential buyers were still absent, the report did reveal some bright spots for those emerging from housing crises.
“Interestingly, 6 percent of all buyers had previously sold a foreclosure or short sale, showing that sellers of distressed property are beginning to recover financially,” Yun said.
NAR mailed a 122-question survey in July 2013 to a national sample of 148,011 home buyers and sellers who purchased their homes between July 2012 and June 2013, using a random sample of county records. Sixty-six percent of respondents were married couples, 16 percent were single women, 9 percent single men, and 7 percent unmarried couples. Fourteen percent of all survey respondents were multi-generational households, including adult children, parents and/or grandparents.