Characteristics of New and First-Time Home Buyers

NAHB economist Heather Taylor has published a new Special Study on the characteristics of new and first-time home buyers. Using 2009 Census data  from the American Housing Survey, Taylor finds that 41% of home buyers between 2007 and 2009 were first-time buyers (totalling 8.4 million households). 

This share was up from 35% from the 2005 to 2007 period, in part due to the home buyer tax credit.  However, this elevated share is expected to persist as the children of the baby boomers form households.

Taylor’s research finds that 13% of first-time buyers purchased a newly-constructed home (during the 2007 to 2009 period, 17% of all homes were newly-constructed).

The average age of a first-time home buyer was 34 and the average income was $67,000.  In contrast, the average age of repeat home buyers was 46 and the average income was $97,000.

The average home purchased by a first-time home buyer had a price of $184,000, compared to $297,000 for repeat home buyers.

The average size of a home purchased by a first-time buyer measured 1,874 square feet, smaller than the 2,549 square feet average for the size of home of repeat homer buyers.

Taylor finds that price was the most important consideration for first-time buyers, as compared to design and layout, which was the most important factor for repeat buyers.

Taylor’s report provides detailed profiles of first-time buyers going back to 2001.



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