First-Time Buyers Expected to Return to Housing Market

By Laura Kusisto, Wall Street Journal

Young buyers could return to the housing market in droves this spring, according to a report due to be released Wednesday.

First-time home buyers now make up 52% of prospective buyers looking to purchase in 2017, up from 33% a year earlier, according to an analysis of web searches performed by Realtor.com, a real-estate listing website.

Buyers typically begin searching several months in advance, so the jump in activity could translate to increased purchases by first-timers in the spring and summer of next year.

The absence of first-time buyers has been one of the biggest abnormalities of the housing market in recent years. If they return, it could provide a big boost to sales and serve as a sign that the housing market is returning to normal after years during which most new households being formed were apartment-dwellers.

“The first-time buyer is ready to come back,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Realtor.com.

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