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First-Time Buyers Fuel Sales

Existing-home sales rose in May to their highest pace in nearly six years, largely attributed to a big rise in the number of first-time home buyers, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report. All major regions saw sales increases in May, with the Northeast seeing the most notable rise.

Existing-home sales – measured as completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops climbed 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million in May. Sales are 9.2 percent above last year at this time.

The market share of first-time home buyers rose to 32 percent of transactions in May, matching the highest share since September 2012. A year ago, first-time buyers represented 27 percent of all buyers, NAR reports.

“The return of first-time buyers in May is an encouraging sign and is the result of multiple factors, including strong job gains among young adults, less expensive mortgage insurance and lenders offering low downpayment programs,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

– Jon Dawson

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