From the WSJ:
First-time home buyers, long a key underpinning of the housing market, are increasingly getting left behind in the real-estate recovery.
Such buyers, typically couples in their late 20s or early 30s, have accounted for about 30% of home sales over the past year. They represented 40% of sales, on average, over the past 30 years, and accounted for more than 50% in 2009, when recession-era tax credits fueled the first-time market, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.
The depressed level of first-time buyers could prove to be a drag on the housing rebound and the broader economic recovery over the longer haul. First-time home buyers are the foundation of the real-estate market and are major contributors to their local economies, often buying up older homes, revitalizing communities and spending money on furniture and renovations.
Once they have built some equity, they often move to more expensive residences.
“First-time buyers are important to get the housing market to move to a new plateau,” said Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist with Mizuho Securities USA Inc. “Without them, you just get stuck at a marginal recovery environment.”
In June, first-time buyers accounted for 29% of purchases of existing homes, compared with 32% in June a year ago, according to the NAR’s June existing home-sales report released Monday.