Brought to you by
KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market
Real Estate

Critical first-time buyers left on the sidelines

First-time homebuyers accounted for 28 percent of existing-home purchases in May-down from 34 percent a year prior, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Traditionally, first-timers account for four of 10 homebuyers, so their dwindling numbers are alarming some housing analysts and economists.

As home prices rise, first-time buyers may increasingly get left on the sidelines. Home prices have posted double-digit gains in the last year in many markets, and average mortgage rates are ticking up above 4 percent. Some buyers may have already missed the prime conditions to jump into home ownership.

"The people buying homes today are participating in home-price growth," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR. "Younger people are being left out. It remains to be seen when the first-time buyer can return."

First-timers are critical to the housing ladder because they help existing-homeowners sell and move up to larger or practical homes.

First-timers face competition from investors and tight credit conditions that are making it more difficult to qualify for a home loan.

The still looming aftereffects of the recession also represent a problem for some. The recession hit the 25- to 34-year-old age group hardest with high unemployment, coupled with the fact that this age group is also facing high levels of student loan debt-factors that have delayed home ownership for the younger generation.

Top Stories

  • Obama Visits Oso
    President Obama says the whole country is thinking of the Oso mudslide victims

  • Suing The Seahawks
    A Seahawks fan sues for $50 million over limiting playoff ticket sales

  • Imminent Threat
    Scientists working to save Earth from approaching asteroids
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Mortgage Calculator
Enter Your Details & Click the Calculate Button
Loan Amount $
Annual Interest Rate %
Term of Loan Years
Number of Payments
Monthly Payment $
Brought to you by

This is not a commitment to lend. Terms subject to change without notice. Applicant must qualify to receive credits. A division of Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corp. WA CL 81395, Equal Housing Lender, MLO 70765.
Listen to the show
Hear Real Estate Today on KIRO Radio
Join Tom Kelly every Sunday at 9am on KIRO Radio to talk Puget Sound real estate.

Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.