First-Time Home Buyers Expected to Top 50% in 2017

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Home sellers and buyers are already looking forward to next year, and that’s probably a good thing, based on the results of a survey of prospective home buyers completed last month at the National Association of Realtors website. According to the survey, 52% of prospective buyers who visited the website are looking to purchase a home in 2017.

The big news for next year is that millennials have decided to enter the market in significant numbers. Some 61% of 2017’s prospective buyers are under the age of 35. Millennials’ top reasons for buying a home include marriage, moving in with a partner, tired of where they currently live and planning an increase in family size.

Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Realtor.com, said:

With so many first time buyers in the market, competition will be even fiercer next year for affordable starter homes in the suburbs. Those looking to buy may want to consider a winter home purchase in order to avoid bidding wars and higher prices spurred by a potential increase in millennial buyers.

In 2016, shopping for a home was constrained by the lack of inventory. In 2017, affordability and qualifying for a mortgage are expected to be more important issues, especially among first-time buyers. Coming up with a down payment and finding a house within their budget are also hurdles for next year’s buyers.

Among the top goals among home buyers next year are privacy and meeting their families’ needs. A third goal is to buy a house the value of which will improve over time. The key features buyers are looking for are safety, more living space and larger yards.

The preferred location from prospective buyers is the suburbs, with a full 50% citing the ‘burbs as their first choice. Younger home buyers, however, are more likely to prefer living in the city, although even among millennials urban living trails the suburbs as the preferred location.

The Realtor.com survey revealed that 73% of respondents had been considering buying a home for less than three months and did not expect to purchase a home immediately. Most were just beginning their home search and planned to take six to seven months looking before making a purchase.