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Squeezed out? First-time buyers, singles, face tougher market

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis November 5, 2013 08:53 AM

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Ever crazier home prices and tighter credit standards are making it tougher for first-time buyers and both single women and men to snag a house.

First-time buyers saw their share of the housing market drop a percentage point in 2013, to 38 percent of the market, the National Association of Realtors reports in its annual home buyer survey.

Singles saw their share of the housing market fall more precipitously, to 25 percent in 2013 after having accounted for roughly a third of all home sales in 2010.

The biggest drop was among single women, from 20 percent of all home sales in 2010 down to 16 percent in 2013, while single men saw their share of the market slide into the single digits, to just 9 percent, according to NAR.

Married couples, by contrast, were behind 66 percent of all home sales in 2013 - to be exact, the survey ran from mid 2012 to mid 2013. That's up from 58 percent in 2010.

Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist,puts the blame for the decline in homes sales to first-time buyers and singles on tougher credit standards.

"Single home buyers have been suppressed for the past three years by restrictive mortgage lending standards, which favor dual-income households who are more likely to have higher credit scores," Yun said in a press statement.

But another obvious factor not touched upon by the NAR survey - one wonders why - is soaring home prices.

It was a lot easier for first timers and singles to buy a house back in 2010, when prices were still on the decline.

While there has been much jabber in the business media about a leveling off of prices nationally, we are still seeing double digit increases here in the Boston area.

As prices rise, two paychecks go a lot farther then one, especially if you find yourself in a bidding war.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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