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KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market

Real Estate

First-time buyers hold key to spring-summer activity

First-time homebuyers represented the fastest growing segment of home purchasers for January and February and will prove critical in 2013's traditional buying season, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage survey.

Meanwhile, current homeowners looking to move up posted the largest drop in market share in the month, dropping to the lowest market share recorded of current homeowners since last June.

"First-time home buyers are the wildcard in the upcoming spring-summer home-buying season," said Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys. "We see strong first-time homebuyer traffic, but it's still not clear that the traffic will translate into increased purchases. First-time home buyers are dependent on low-down-payment financing and FHA program changes will take effect this spring."

Current homeowners make up 42.5 percent of the market share, while first-time homebuyers share climbed to 34.5 percent of home purchase transactions in February, after reaching a four-year survey low of 32.9 percent in December.

The survey showed that first-time homebuyer traffic reached a four-year high in February.

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